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STOP THE CLOCK: How can we prevent young carers undertaking inappropriate or excessive care?

The University of Sheffield has published a series of policy briefings on working against the challenges faced by children and ensuring they have the best possible chances in life. The four policy briefings cover: the effectiveness of early intervention; single parent families; the role of voluntary organisations in supporting and monitoring young carers; the services provided for young people leaving care.

• The Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014 stipulate that no child should undertake inappropriate and/or excessive care. However, the concepts of ‘inappropriate’ and ‘excessive’ are not adequately defined and it is estimated that 1 in 12 children and young people in England and Wales are currently taking on medium to high level care for an ill or disabled family member.

• Young carers’ voices are central to understanding the impact of caring on young people’s lives. In May 2018, Sheffield Young Carers Action Group met with Prime Minister Theresa May to present their concerns and recommendations on what the government can do to improve the lives of young carers across the UK.

This briefing provides new research evidence from young carers about the challenges they face, highlighting the need for four areas of policy action. The four policy actions include i) early identification of young carers; ii) support for young carers so no child cares alone; iii) reducing excessive and inappropriate care by children through better assessment and service provision and iv) developing effective processes to support young carers’ transitions to adulthood and independent lives.