§ Mr. Gerrard
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to local authorities regarding the provision of short breaks for families caring for children with severe learning disabilities. 
§ Margaret Hodge
"Guidance and Regulations Volume 6 Children with Disabilities" was issued following the Children Act 1989. The guidance clearly sets out local councils' responsibilities for the provision of short-term or respite care.
In August 1995 LAC(95)14 "Respite Care: Services Short-Term Placements of Children" was issued setting out Regulations where services of pre-planned short-term placements could be treated as a single placement.
In previous circulars issued under the Quality Protects Programme, short breaks were identified as a priority area for the Children's Services Grant.
More recently, Guidance was issued to accompany the Carers Grant 2004/05 setting out the Grant's objective to encourage councils to provide breaks services for disabled children and their families.