There has been some confusion in the field about how legislation applies to short break provision and the guidance that should be followed. There has also been a worrying degree of non-compliance with established measures designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of particularly vulnerable groups of children.

This statutory document seeks to improve outcomes for disabled children by providing statutory guidance on how to safeguard and promote their welfare through the provision of short breaks.

The document brings together into one volume all the existing and new statutory guidance relevant to the provision of short breaks for disabled children and their families. The main elements are: short breaks and the provision of accommodation; assessment, planning, implementation and review cycle for children using short breaks; and the different settings in which short breaks may take place.

Visit the DfE website for more information


  • Introduction
  • The provision of accommodation
  • Assessment, planning and review
  • Short breaks in different settings
  • Direct payments
  • Annexes