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Respite Care

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what progress has been made on the issuing of best practice guidelines to local authorities on the provision of respite care to families with disabled children pursuant to the Government's commitment given on 23 February 2007; (141280)

(2) how the recently announced additional £280 million funding to increase respite care for families with disabled children will be spent; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answers 11 June 2007]: The Council for Disabled Children has started to develop good practice guidance to help local authorities commission quality short breaks services for disabled children and their families. A first draft of the guidance will be submitted to the Department in the autumn and this will be trialled with a small number of authorities. The trial findings will be used to inform the final draft of the guidance for publication in spring 2008.

Implementation plans are being developed to deliver the step change in the provision of short breaks announced in the DfES/HMT report ‘Aiming high for disabled children: better support for families’ (May 2007). There is an expectation the £280 million made available for this purpose will be phased—with pathfinders in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and national roll-out in 2010-11. The priority is to support the development of sustainable short breaks services locally.

Our plans will need to take account of the NHS comprehensive spending review settlement later this year which will provide additional funding to provide short breaks for disabled children with complex health needs.