Children and young people who care for family members are to benefit from a full assessment of their support needs so they receive help and assistance to experience the same opportunities as their friends.
The government has tabled an amendment to the Children and Families Bill - currently making its way through Parliament - which will help improve services for young carers by:
- extending the right to an assessment of support needs to all young carers under the age of 18 - regardless of who they care for or how often they provide it
- supporting local authorities to combine the assessment of a young carer with an assessment of the person they care for - providing a co-ordinated and rounded package of support for the whole family
- simplifying the law relating to young carers - making their rights and duties clearer to both young people and professionals
Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said:
Young carers are the unsung heroes of the care system, selflessly providing support around the clock for the people they love. Yet carers of all ages, for the most noble of reasons, can often overlook their own needs - missing out on the important things their friends take for granted.
This is why we must put in place a system that supports them and enables them to live a full life, as well as protecting them from excessive or inappropriate caring responsibilities. Today’s amendment to the Children and Families Bill will make it easier for these vulnerable young people to get the help they so desperately need, and I know it will be welcomed by many young carers and their families.
Caring for a family member can have a detrimental impact on the life of a young carer, including their educational achievement. The government is committed to improving outcomes for these children and young people, yet research shows that too many remain ‘hidden’ from the health, education and social care services they need most - partly as a result of these services needing to do more to identify them.
Today’s announcement, alongside the measures proposed in the Care Bill, is the latest step in ensuring that a ‘whole family’ approach - one which assesses both the needs of the adult who requires support and the child who cares for them - is taken in providing personalised and integrated packages of support to help young carers.
Since the publication of the revised Carers Strategy, published in 2010, the government has:
- created specific training guides for teachers and teaching staff to enable them to better identify and support young carers
- provided £1.5 million to the Children’s Society and Carers Trust to encourage children and adult services to adopt ‘whole family’ approaches to supporting young carers
- supported young carer pathfinders to develop ways of supporting young carers and their families
- worked with the National Young Carers Coalition to develop the ‘healthy schools’ e-learning module for teachers to help better understand the challenges and responsibilities faced by young carers
Notes to editor
- Written ministerial statement
- ‘Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the carers strategy’
See the ‘healthy schools’ e-learning module.