To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will take steps to improve the support available to young carers; and what discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on improving such support.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
22 July 2014
Improving support for carers of all ages is a priority for this Government. The Department for Education has provided over £2.7 million of funding to The Children’s Society and Carers Trust over four years between 2011 and 2015 to work with local authorities and voluntary and community organisations. This has helped to promote ‘whole family’ approaches to supporting young carers and identify and share existing good practice.
We have also made significant changes to the law relating to young carers that will take effect from April 2015. Section 96 of the Children and Families Act 2014 delivers four things: it consolidates and simplifies the legislation relating to young carers’ assessments, making rights and duties clearer to both young people and practitioners; it extends the right to an assessment of needs for support to all young carers under the age of 18 regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it; it makes it clear to local authorities that they must carry out an assessment of a young carer’s needs for support on request or when the need becomes apparent; and it provides the appropriate links between children’s and adults’ legislation to enable local authorities to align the assessment of a young carer with an assessment of the person they care for.
These changes will work with provisions in the Care Act that also support the combining of children’s and adults’ assessments, and the draft guidance on a whole family approach to assessing and supporting adults. Together they will provide a clear legislative framework that will support local authorities to consider the needs of the whole family, deliver coordinated packages of support and protect children and young people from excessive or inappropriate caring roles.
The legislative changes outlined above only affect young carers in England. The Department for Education has not discussed them with the Northern Ireland Executive.