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Respite Care

Question for Department for Education

UIN 7328, tabled on 25 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of funding additional respite care for the families of disabled children to alleviate exhaustion and social isolation.

Answered on

2 June 2021

We believe it is right for local authorities, who know their areas’ needs best, to determine what services are required locally. Respite care services for disabled children are provided on the basis of an individual assessment of each child and family’s needs, and it is right that this individual focus continues. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have ensured that respite care services for disabled children and their families have been allowed to continue to operate. This applies to services which care for children in and away from home. Where parents have a disabled child under the age of 5, they can also establish a support bubble with another household to provide respite care.

To support local areas, the government has given over £6 billion in un-ringfenced funding directly to councils to support them with the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 spending pressures, including children’s services.

In addition to statutory services, we are providing £27.3 million to the Family Fund in financial year 2021-22 to support over 60,000 families on low incomes raising children and young people with disabilities or serious illnesses. Grants can be used for a range of purposes, including family breaks.

We are also providing £200 million for all secondary schools, including specialist settings, to deliver face-to-face summer schools. Schools will be able to target provision based on pupils’ needs but the government is suggesting they may want to initially target incoming year 7 pupils, as well as pupils who may benefit from increased support, which includes disabled children and those with special educational needs. This is alongside wider support funded through our Holiday Activities and Food Programme across the country.