Skip to content

Additional needs

Support for parents

Short break services

The ‘Short Breaks’ service give children and young people with special needs and disabilities the chance to experience activities and positive learning opportunities while giving parents and carers a break.

What short breaks are available?

This depends on the individual interests of the child or young person and what additional support they need.

They can be for part of a day, a whole day, overnight, a weekend or during school holiday times and can take place in the home, in the community or in a residential setting.

They are designed and planned in consultation with parents and carers and children are supported to access services local to the family, help them form friendships, feel part of the community and build skills required for adulthood.

  • Pinpoint Devon offers information about local activities and services that your child may like to be involved in
  • SignPost Plus is a specialist information service for families with children with disabilities. It provides information on local and national organisations, short breaks providers, enabling services and lots of useful hints, tips and updates.  To contact a local information co-ordinator call the helpline on 0845 155 1013 or email

The Short Breaks Service is not intended to be used as childcare for parents to enable them to attend work or access work related training.

Who are short breaks for?

They’re for children and young people between 0-18 years old living in Devon who are disabled and/or have complex health needs where this has a significant and enduring impact on their lives.

This includes children and young people with diagnosed learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, chronic or life limiting physical illness and/ or sensory impairments and physical impairments.

Not all children will be eligible for short break services and may instead be referred for an ‘Early Help’ assessment and support.

How to I access the short breaks service?

If you would like to access short breaks you will need to have an assessment.

This is done through Children & Family Health Devon’s Single Point of Access Team. You can contact them by phone on 03300 245 321 or by emailing 

Wherever possible parents should be able to take control of their short breaks through direct payments and personal budgets.

Overnight short breaks

Overnight short breaks offer short-term substitute care for children and young people with significant disabilities or a serious health condition. They are provided by someone other than parents or the usual carers of the child. They form part of a support package based on the particular needs of individual children and their families and could be provided by a foster carer, a residential unit or the provision of care in the family home.

Devon has a range of providers who can offer overnight short breaks, with foster carers or residential services.

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

If it’s an emergency call 999

website feedbackX

Give us your feedback


Welcome to beta.devon, a development environment for all of our web sites and an example of how our information and services are presented.

PLEASE BE AWARE - this is a test website. It may contain inaccuracies or be misleading. remains the official website for county council information and services.

Your suggestions will help us make this site better, so if you have any comments please leave us feedback.

N.B. This site uses 'cookies' and Google Analytics. Closing this page sets a cookie so you don't see it again. There's more information on cookies at