REACH Wokingham supported by an associate from Contact (formerly Contact a Family) recently met with the Council to discuss progress on the 2018 changes to Short Breaks. We still have a number of concerns about the lack of data, unclear eligibility criteria and lack of evidence of how parent carer views have been taken into consideration . We believe that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done before the scheme can be launched. We have escalated our concerns and are taking further advice. We have a meeting scheduled with Mark Ashwell, Executive Member for Children’s Services on 3rd January 2018.
The Council have prepared a communication for parent carers explaining the changes with information on if your family is entitled to short breaks and when the self-referral/ application process will be available which can be accessed here: Short Breaks Letter from WBC.
Parent carers who already receive direct payment will receive an individual letter from the Council explaining the changes.
REACH Wokingham are continuing to work on behalf of parent carers to ensure any proposed changes meet the Local Authority’s legal duties in relation to Short Breaks provision, and that we will do everything we can to ensure Short Breaks meet the needs of as many families as possible.
We would urge all parents who have any concerns to write to Mark Ashwell as Executive Member for Children’s Services and also your local Councillor expressing your concerns with the changes. Please copy email@example.com with your emails.
Mark Ashwell’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out who your Local Councillor is please click on this link: WBC Local Councillors
Feedback can also be left via the Local Offer Feedback Survey
More information on Short Breaks and the new Short Breaks Statement here: Short Breaks Update 2017
REACH Wokingham will keep you updated with any further infomation we have.