Assessing need for short breaks


There are a wide range of social opportunities available to all children and young people in the borough, including disabled children which are universally available to all.

Additional short break provision is available to disabled children or young people aged 0 – 25 years of age. The sole criteria promoted by Blackburn with Darwen is need.

In order to assess need, the social worker will talk to the child or young person and their carers and seek to understand:

  • views of the child and parents
  • methods of communication/how they choose to communicate
  • parenting capacity of the parents within their family
  • the length of time away from home and frequency of such stays
  • the potential impact on the child/ren’s place in the family and on their parents or carers
    • (for example, the impact on siblings and how they may interact)
  • observation of the child – especially for children who do not communicate verbally –
    • during or immediately after the break by a person familiar with the mood and behaviour
    • of the child.
  • Can yours or your child needs be appropriately met via Universal Services.

All assessments will consider the needs of both the child and carer and will not be in isolation. As a general rule, those with the highest levels of need will have access to higher levels of service, irrespective of age, race, religion, gender or the nature of impairment.

Requesting an assessment

The easiest way to request an assessment is via self-referral to Children’s Social Care (children aged from birth to 18 years) by telephoning the Referral Information Co-ordinators on (01254) 666400 or alternatively to Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) whereby a referral form needs to be completed by a professional that is working with the family.

When a young person is aged 18 or over, please contact the Customer Liaison Team on (01254) 587547

Once this assessment is complete, and a short break has been identified as a need the social worker or child support officer will provide information about the range of services and breaks available and how often they will be required in order to meet the assessed need. The assessment will take into consideration the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 and the 1989 Children’s Act, as well as the Equalities Act 2010.