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Fact sheet

Government guidance (England and Wales)

Information and guidance about the 2008 National Carers Strategy is now available here: National Carers Strategy 2008

From the Government’s Carers Strategy 1999, Caring about Carers

Chapter 8, pp75-81:

9. Under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995, young carers can ask for an assessment of their needs. But many are not aware that this is possible. Some local authorities are reluctant to advertise this fact because of their concern about raising expectations. With the help of the voluntary sector, the statutory services should ensure that young carers are not expected to carry inappropriate levels of caring responsibility. To achieve this, disabled or ill parents need support to maintain their independence and to carry out their parenting responsibilities. Services must consider the needs of all family members including children with caring responsibilities. Sometimes there is a delicate balance to be struck between the rights of a child to have support to reduce the caring burden, and the reluctance of some families to accept intervention or support from social services.

Improving support for young carers

15. To support young carers better, the Government has already indicated that we will:

• aim to ensure that children whose parents or other relatives have specific needs arising out of disability or health conditions, enjoy the same life chances as all other children in the locality. This requires local authorities to identify children with additional family burdens and to provide services that are geared to ensure these children’s education and general development do not suffer.
• do more to make health, education and social services work together on children ’s services plans, as set out in our White Paper Modernising Social Services.
• continue to emphasise the need for co-operation between adults’ and children’s services within social services departments. This means, for example, that the community care assessment of a disabled parent must pay attention to that disabled person’s role as a parent.

16. We will also:

• improve awareness training about young carers for General Practitioners, primary health care teams, social workers and teachers at the time of their initial training and subsequently, through providing opportunities for young carers to share their experience with professionals.