Family Link Plus - short break care for disabled children
What is Family Link Plus?
We are a support team covering the whole of Gloucestershire, providing tailored support packages, in and out of the family home, to families with disabled children 0-18 years.
There are many families in Gloucestershire caring full time for their disabled child, these families are in real need of a short break, this time allows them to relax, spend time with other members of their family or just complete necessary tasks like the weekly shop; tasks that can be really challenging as a full-time carer.
The children also benefit hugely from the support offered, it offers them the chance to make friendships and participate in new activities with people outside their family, activities that most non-disabled children take for granted.
What kind of care is offered by Family Link Plus?
- Day-time care for disabled children in the carers home, which can include short sessions such as tea times after school;
- Overnight care for disabled children in a carers family home, this could take the form of a regular weekend break, and breaks from the family home during school holidays;
Additional Services offered by Family Support Workers as part of Family Link Plus
- Day-time care for disabled children in both their own homes and elsewhere, including befriending, travel support, support at mealtimes and bed times and sibling support;
- Support to enable disabled children to participate in educational and recreational activities in the community.
Who are the children?
The service is available to children and young people up to the age of 18 years of age who have a range of disabilities.
Family Link Plus is open to children with;
- physical disabilities,
- severe learning disabilities
- Autistic spectrum disorders
- complex medical needs
- those with special educational needs including children who present with a range of challenging behaviours. For example: disrupted sleep, self-harming, continence needs, aggressive behaviours.
The children placed are generally aged between 0 and 18 years old.
Who can be a Family Link Plus carer?
All children are different and to meet their needs we are looking for a wide variety of people. We welcome applicants with experience of caring for disabled children and those with challenging behaviour, although this is not essential as we offer ongoing training. All we ask is that you have an understanding of children's needs and a willingness to learn new things and embrace new challenges.
Unlike fostering it is not always necessary for carers to have a spare bedroom, however they are required to be over 21 years of age.
Carers work closely with parents and professionals, following an agreed care plan to achieve agreed outcomes.
Is my child eligible for the Family Link Plus service?
These short breaks are available for disabled children who have had a social work or lead professional assessment of their needs. If it has been agreed that short breaks are needed, the various options will be discussed with you. Family Link Plus is one of these options. If you have not had an assessment and you want to find out about it you can call the Children's Helpdesk on 01452 426565.
The service aims to look at the impact of the child's needs on the family, rather than the severity of the needs, and strives to look at each individual child's needs and strengths.
Family Link Plus service is provided to meet the needs of children, carers, or both. A formal assessment of a family's needs leads to a tailored package of services for them.
What support is offered to Family Link Plus Carers?
Family Link Plus offer an excellent package of support to carers, based on the belief; in order for carers to provide brilliant support to families they require an inclusive and ongoing support package from the Local Authority. To include:
- A comprehensive payment structure
- Thorough assessment process with includes extensive training
- Ongoing access to informative and up-to-date training programmes
- Continual professional support and supervision
Interested in becoming a Family Link Plus carer?
To be Family Link Plus carer you must be over the age of 21. However, there is no upper age limit and carers can be single, a couple or a family.
If the idea of helping a local family and welcoming a child into your life for short periods; a day, a weekend, part of the school holidays or a couple of evenings a month, appeals to you . . .
We would love to hear from you.
Contact the Family Link Plus Team at:
Gloucestershire County Council
Telephone: 01452 426860