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Social Services


Are the sitters and carers trained?

Sitters and carers have 2 days (14 hours of training) provided by the service before they are linked. This covers topics such as how the service works, the types of disabilities children might have, communicating and playing with children with disabilities, supporting families and how to keep children safe. For any specialist medical interventions required e.g. tube feeding, a Community paediatric Nurse trains the sitter/carer with the child’s family.

Can I have both a sitter and carer?

No. However a family can have a sitter or carer and their child can access Log Cabin.

Does Heller House provide transport?

Heller House is able to collect children from St Ann's and Mandeville schools to come for their short break. Where children are having after school care their parents will need to collect them by 7pm. At weekends and during school holidays parents need to drop the children off and collect them.

How is it decided which children come on which night?

We try to group children together in friendship groups or at least by age and ability. For example Mondays tend to be "Boys" night for boys who are older and who can communicate well. Tuesday is "Girls" night. Parents can request specific nights and we will try to accommodate this wherever possible. Where parents have one off requests for specific dates we will do our best to offer the date requested but would ask for as much notice as possible.

How many sitting hours break will I get?

Sitters provide 8 hours a month, or 12 hours, if there is more than one child with a disability in the family.

How many staff will be on duty when my child is there?

Before the child comes to the unit by themselves a key worker will be allocated from within the staff team who will find out everything that they can about the child's needs from the parents, the social worker and the school. Based on this a decision will be made about the level of support the child needs. Many of the children using Heller House have one-to-one staff support throughout their time here. There is a total staff team of 24. This is made up of a manager, two deputies, four senior RCCWs, three RCCWs work at night ensuring the the children have a good night's sleep, eleven RCCWs, one cook, one driver, two domestics and one administrator. This sounds like a big staff team but we have to cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so there is a lot of different shifts. The minimum staffing when children are in the unit is two staff.

How much care will I get?

This depends on the social workers assessment and the decision of the panel. There are many different packages of care, some children come for after school care, which would be once a fortnight or once a week, some children come for overnight care, which would be one overnight stay per fortnight or per week. Some children have day care at weekends which would be one or two days every six weeks. Some children have overnight care at weekends, which would be every six weeks.

How soon will I get a service after the Short Break panel has referred me to the Family Link Service?

This depends on whether we have any suitable carers/ sitters with time available, and whether you have expressed any preference for the ethnicity or religion of the carer or sitter. It will also depend on what times and days you want the sitter/ carer to be available.

What facilities are there at Heller House?

On the ground floor we have a living room with a TV and stereo, a dining room, an art and messy/wet play room, a "splash pool" (rather like an indoor paddling pool), a large games room where we can have a bouncy castle or play football or basket ball, a sensory room with a water bed and specialist lighting, four accessible bedrooms of which two bedrooms are with ceiling track hoists, an accessible bathroom and shower room. In the future we hope to develop a computer room. Outside there is a large garden space with swings and a climbing frame. Upstairs there are five bedrooms and two bathrooms and another lounge with TV. We also have an accessible mini bus that can be used to take the children out to activities within the local community. Some children are able to use public transport and are taken out to places of their choice such as the cinema, bowling ally or shops.

When will the carer look after my child?

Carers can offer up to 21 days a year care. Usually they see their link child at the weekend, during the day or evening. Carers can look after children overnight.

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