No hols for disabled kids following cuts

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.
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A service that provides disabled youngsters with a much-needed break will no longer be available to many children as council chiefs continue to deal with devastating funding cuts.

By 2018, the funding Derbyshire County Council gets from central Government is expected to be a third less than in 2010.

Despite selling off land and buildings, reducing back-office costs and cutting the number of senior managers, the extent of the cuts means the authority must consider cutting back most of its services.

The council’s Aiming High Derbyshire Offer – part of the menu of short breaks provided for disabled children and young people – had already been scaled back.

Now cabinet has agreed to stop Aiming High groups, short break grants, one-to-one support and activity weekends without the need for an assessment from October 1.

However, families will be able to request a formal assessment of their needs and short breaks would continue to be offered to those children and young people with an identified need.

The move comes after the county council launched a consultation during which more than 1,000 people were asked for their views.

Councillor Jim Coyle, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We’ve done all we can to protect frontline services and vulnerable people while our budgets are continually being cut back.

“We don’t want to be in the position of stopping the Aiming High Derbyshire Offer without the need for an assessment as we understand the effect it will have on families.

“However, the size of the cuts we are being forced to make means we simply can’t afford to pay for services that we don’t legally need to provide.”

Cabinet agreed that families who qualify for support following an assessment by Derbyshire’s children’s services would continue to receive short breaks.