Berkshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures
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6.2.20 Short Breaks - Home From Home


This chapter oversees the policies and processes to follow in the administration of the short breaks scheme.


In January 2017 minor changes in terminology were made to this chapter

The Home from Home Short Break Scheme offers family based regular support to children with a physical and/ or learning disability. This ranges from a few hours after school one day a week to a weekend a month. Carers care for one child at a time unless they are caring for siblings. Referrals for the service come from the Services for Children with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities.

Both Overnight and Day Carers are assessed using a Short Breaks Home Study Report format based on Fostering standards and Induction Standards for Children's Workforce Short Break standards and supplied by the Eastern Region of Short Breaks Network (previously Shared Care Network) This is the national organisation supporting family based short breaks to children and young people with a disability and other short break services. Carers are assessed on their ability to meet the needs of children placed as outlined in the National Standards. Their application is taken to the Fostering Panel for consideration and, then to Slough Borough Council's Agency Decision Maker for a final decision. When approved, a Carer's agreement is completed and they are placed on the Foster Carer's register. They also will be given membership to the National Fostering Network.

All the policies appropriate to Foster Carers will also apply to all Carers that give overnight care. With other Carers good practice strategies will be employed.

Prior to approval potential Carers attend preparation training which covers disability awareness, confidentiality, child protection, abuse, safe caring, managing different behaviours and meeting a parent of a child with a disability and an experienced Carer. They are also expected to attend first aid training as soon as possible after approval. They will also be given a Carer's handbook and a copy of the booklet 'Safe and Sound' from the 'In Safe Keeping' series of booklets produced by Short Breaks Network and supported by the Department of Health. This gives guidelines for Short Break Carers on the safe care of disabled children receiving family based breaks. Post approval they are encouraged to attend a variety of training run by the Local Authority and other organisations e.g. Short Breaks Network. They are also invited to attend any Foster Carer training that is appropriate, the biannual Carers' conference run by Slough Children's Service Trust Family Placement Service and other support in the form of social events. Overnight Carers attend a minimum of two training sessions a year.

Each Carer is allocated a Linkworker within the Home from Home Team and is reviewed at least annually. This will include a placement review for each child placed with the Carer which is fed back to his or her Social Worker. The first review will be returned to the Fostering Panel to seek their endorsement. This will be repeated if there is a change in the circumstances of the Carer.

Children that are offered overnight care are considered Looked After Children or Children in Need dependent on the level of their care plan and they are reviewed accordingly.

For each client placed with a Carer a placement agreement is completed and reviewed at least annually.

Short Breaks Network good practise guidelines suggest 3 monthly visits to Carers. Contact is made more frequently in the early stages of a new link. All Carers also receive an unannounced yearly visit by their Linkworker.

Parents always retain responsibility for health and education and are asked to remain contactable whilst their child is with the Home from Home Carer or give the telephone number of someone else who can take responsibility for the child if required e.g. grandparent.

Home from Home Carers are not allowed to undertake invasive medical procedures without prior training. For other elements of care considered to be a risk a risk assessment is completed and reviewed at least annually. This is done in consultation with Carer, parents, Social Worker and the Home from Home team. With each new link, an infection control risk assessment is also completed.