Extra 'short break' fund for Scottish disabled children

Image caption,
The funding will help children with complex needs

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

The Scottish government said the money would be in addition to £5m already allocated over the next five years.

The new funding, which will be for 2011/12, aims to prioritise children with complex and exceptional needs and their families.

The money will be allocated to the voluntary sector, with groups being invited to come forward with proposals.

It follows a recommendation from the National Review of Services for Disabled Children, which has just been published.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "Carers make an enormous contribution within their families and to our society.

"That's why we have already committed investment of £5m over the next five years for carers who look after loved ones of all ages.

"But 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."

She added: "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."

Educational needs

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

A survey has suggested that almost 45,000 young people in Scotland have additional support needs.

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.

Meanwhile, Scotland is to lead a UK-wide project to develop nursing in the field of learning disability.

Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland Ros Moore said: "I am delighted that Scotland is to lead this project, which is aimed at modernising and enhancing the profile and contribution of learning disability nursing, and ensuring these specialist nurses use and develop their skills to provide the best possible health outcomes for this group of people."

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