Disabled youngsters are to be hit as Sheffield Council continues to grapple with swingeing budget cuts.
Respite care and short breaks for families of disabled children are the latest casualties of severe austerity measures imposed by the Government.
The council has been consulting with parents of disabled children on the future of respite care and says it’s now in a position to roll out a number of new proposals, including changing short break grants and asking parents to contribute financially.
A full report is due to go before the Children, Young People and Family Support scrutiny committee but an initial report by officers warns of a dire financial situation.
Officers say: “The council’s funding from central government has been reduced by over £350 million in the last seven years, with further reductions planned.
“Consequently the council now has to review many of our services which we had previously protected. We need to decide how to best provide services in a different and more cost effective way.
“Our goal remains to continue to deliver short break and respite services, to support parent and carers and offer services which will improve the experiences and opportunities for disabled children and young people in a sustainable manner.”
The council ran a survey for parents and carers of disabled children and came up with the proposals based on this.
The proposals are:
Eligibility for the Short Breaks Grant would stop on a young person’s 18th birthday
To change the offer of the short break grant
Families who take the grant could not access other short break or respite services as well
Introduce family income as an eligibility criteria
Parents would be asked to pay the cost of the club/activity for universal clubs, the same as parents of non-disabled children and young people
Parents would be asked to pay a contribution of £7 toward the cost of the activity for specialist/contracted clubs
To explore the possibility of developing a facility in the city for 16-25 year olds.
A full report and further details are expected in July.