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Fact sheet

Assessments for young carers (Scotland)

All young carers can ask for a Carers Assessment in their own right as a carer under the Community Care and Health Act (Scotland) 2002. They are entitled to an assessment whether or not the person they look after is being assessed for Community Care Services. Social Work must give the assessment requested. Young Carers can also get an Assessment as "a child in need" under the Children Act (Scotland)1995.

Whichever Act you assess a young carer under, there are useful child-friendly tools available:

The Guidance accompanying the Health and Community Care (Scotland) 2002 (Section 9 Young Carers) sets out how to implement this new legislation and support carers as key partners in providing care. It gives details of the assessment process, including who should be assessed, who should assess young people, a different definition of "substantial and regular" for young people and how young carers assessments should interact with Children Act assessments and with assessments of parents.

Guidance accompanying Health and Community Care (Scotland) 2002 (Scotland) 2002, (Section 9 Young Carers): and Performance Measures for Young Carers Assessments.

Getting It Right for Every Child

Scottish Ministers, through the Children and Young People Cabinet Delivery Group, are driving forward a set of priorities to improve the strategic planning, integration, quality and delivery of services for all children and young people in Scotland. Getting it right for every child is a key part of this programme, as it affects individual children.

It takes forward the key recommendations of "For Scotland’s Children" along with the development of multi-agency inspection, the reform of child protection, the Curriculum for Excellence, the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act, the youth justice improvement programme and Hall4.

The programme affects any work which impacts on children and therefore has implications for other Departments such as Health, Justice and Communities. The Getting it right for every child team of the Scottish Executive Education Department in the Children, Young People and Social Care Group is working with colleagues across the Scottish Executive.

For further background information visit: Getting it Right for Every Child

Assessment and Integrated Assessment Framework

Getting it right for every child builds on integrated assessment and requires action to be taken in the light of assessment.

All professionals working with children and young people are involved in the process of assessment on a daily basis. Health visitors and school nurses are assessing health and development and the need for interventions or support, teachers are assessing attainment and achievement and a number of specialist assessment tools are used by a whole range of professionals. Where assessment activity involves children, families and other relevant individuals in understanding progress and how it could be improved, it can positively move things forward.

The detail of information gathering and analysis should be proportionate to the needs of the individual child. Sometimes one piece of information can tell us what action is necessary and the priority must be to act on that information. Where the picture is more complicated, co-ordination across professional boundaries may be necessary and multi-agency action will be required.

Getting it right for every child is about approaches which do not create an industry of assessment but allow for effective and timely information sharing to inform robust decisions and result in action as quickly as possible. An information gathering process which is clear, co-ordinated and inclusive and allows children and families to become part of the solution can be seen as positive intervention. The assessment tool should not be the focus of attention.

Important decisions affecting the lives of children and families should not be taken without adequate analysis of the information made available by the relevant people, which should wherever possible include the child and their family. From the moment a concern comes to light, available, factual information should be used to help determine the best course of action. However, the activity of gathering and analysing information should be appropriate and proportionate to the child or young person’s needs.

Getting it right for every child does not suggest a one size fits all approach to assessment but a clear focus on the individual child or young person and what can best help improve their situation. This will vary in different circumstances. The clear expectation under Getting it right for every child is that assessment leads to action and improved outcomes for children and young people. Specific assessments should be carried out where specific needs require them.