Referring a child
About the breaks
Before the break
After the break
1. Q: How do I refer a child?
A: You can refer a child by completing the Child Referral Form online and completing a Consent and Medical Form. The Coordination Team will need to discuss each application with you over the phone before a break can be finalised. Please note, sending in a referral is not a guaruntee of a space on a break. While we do our best to accommodate as many children as possible we receive more referrals than we have spaces.
2. Q: What is the referral criteria?
A: Any child aged 8-15 is eligible for a CHICKS break if they have not had another holiday in that calendar year and are in need of respite from their current situation. There is no typical ‘CHICKS child’ but referral reasons have included poverty, caring responsibilities, abuse, family breakdown, bullying and much more.
3. Q: Who decides if the child is eligible?
A: All referrals are assessed by two ‘Respites Break Coordinators’ who are members of the CHICKS Coordination Team. They are experienced in listening to children’s needs and individual situations, making assessments on which break would be suitable, or if the child will need to wait another 6 months until they are ready. In some cases, they may make the decision that CHICKS is not suitable for a particular child and will decline the application. This will always be explained to you clearly.
4. Q: Is there a limit to how many referrals I can make?
A: No. Referral Agents can refer as many children as needed throughout the year. This does not guarantee that all children will be given a place. If you would like to bring a group of children onto a break, please contact the Coordination Team well in advance to discuss this and we will consider holding places for you ahead of receiving the referral forms. Please note, there will be a deadline given in these cases, which must be adhered to and CHICKS reserve the right to give up any held places before individual reservations have been made
5. Q: How can I take the child out of school time for their break?
A: CHICKS is accredited by ASDAN which is an educational awarding body that means the child can be marked ‘present’ on the register under category B whilst away on break with us. This is because CHICKS and ASDAN recognise that whilst the child is away, they are still learning and developing in other ways. Children will be sent an ASDAN certificate after their break to acknowledge their experiences.
6. Q: When are the breaks?
A: CHICKS breaks take place throughout most of the year. The first break in 2018 is during February half-term and the last during December, followed by our special Christmas break.
7. Q: Can a child attend more than once?
A: Yes, children are welcome back each calendar year (depending on the previous break report and suitability) but they may only attend once per calendar year. We do make exceptions to this for the annual Christmas break.
8. Q: Can I contact the child during their break?
A: Yes, but you will be required to give a break-specific password sent to you one week before the break. We advise minimal phone calls for the benefit of the childrens’ experience, and evenings are better than daytime for calls as the children will be out on activities.
9. Q: How do I talk to the parents?
A: Parents and guardians will naturally like to know where their child is going, so please download a 'parent leaflet' from our website to share with them. Many ask why their child has been referred, so you will need to determine what is suitable for that particular family: ie, if a child is a young carer you may wish to explain that CHICKS would like to give them a chance for a break away from their responsibilities. If the referral reason is more complicated or sensitive, explaining that the child is receiving a free holiday so they can have fun and make friends will usually suffice.
10. Q: Does CHICKS contact the parents before the break?
A: CHICKS will only contact the parents once all booking paperwork has been received. We will call all the children’s parents within the week before the child’s break to answer any questions.
11. Q: Will the children I refer receive anything from CHICKS before the break?
A: Yes. All children who are booked onto a break will receive a welcome pack 1-2 weeks before their break which will include telephone numbers, kit list, and fun information for the children.
12. Q: How do I get the children to the retreat?
A: It is your responsibility to arrange suitable transport for the children, chaperoned by an appropriate adult (18+). We put on collection points at nearby train/bus stations (Plymouth and Derby) local to the retreats. You will need to inform us where the child is being dropped off/picked up and the name and number of their chaperone at least one week before the break. In 2018, at the point of booking a child we will be able to offer you free return coach journeys with National Express for children coming to CHICKS and 25% discount for their chaperones.
13. Q: How can we find out how the child’s break went?
A: Aside from talking to the child after their break, we will aim to send you a 'Children's Break Report', written by the Respite Break Leaders, soon after the break. This report details how they got on, any behavioural concerns, any improvements made during the week and their interactions with others.
If your question hasn't been answered here, please email the Coordination Team.