Cash break for parents of disabled in Scotland


Families with severely disabled children could benefit from an extra £2 million to fund short breaks.

The money is in addition to £5 million already allocated over five years, the Scottish Government said.

Public health minister Shona Robison said: “Parents looking after children with complex or exceptional needs have exceptionally tough demands placed upon them. Severely disabled children can be entirely reliant on their parents for everything and families can be left utterly exhausted. Providing a short break – either for parents and their other children or for the whole family – can make a huge difference in sustaining families and keeping them going.”

The new funding aims to prioritise children with complex and exceptional needs and their families. It follows a recommendation from the National Review of Services for Disabled Children.

The funding is for the financial year 2011-12 and will be allocated to the voluntary sector, with groups invited to come forward with proposals.

The review report includes a range of measures to improve the lives of disabled children and their families, the Government said.

A survey suggests that nearly 45,000 young people in Scotland have additional support needs.

Anecdotal evidence used in the research points to the “fight, battle or struggle” experienced by families and carers. The report says there is good practice, but it is often “hard won, and can be too rare”.

Findings include that disabled children and those in hospital have educational and social needs that can often be overlooked. It adds that the understanding of child protection issues, as they affect disabled children and young people, needs to be improved.