Children's and Adults directors sign joint protocol to ensure better support for young carers

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Association of Directors of Children's Services
Date: 4 December 2009.
Embargo: 00.01 Hrs, Tuesday 8 December 2009

A special protocol* is launched today to help ensure that Englands 140,000-plus young carers looking after family members, often with high-level social care needs, do not miss out on educational and other life opportunities as a result.

The protocol, drawn up between ADASS and the ADCS, encourages statutory directors of childrens and adult services to ensure that children in these circumstances - a third of whom are caring for a family member who is mentally ill - should be able to learn, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children.

Signed by the Presidents of both leadership associations, childrens and adults directors should make sure that:

  • Young carers are identified, assessed, and their families supported in ways that prevent inappropriate caring roles - regardless of which service is contacted first, childrens or adults,
  • Earlier, better integrated and more effective responses to young carers and their families are available,
  • Children are protected from excessive or inappropriate caring roles; further inappropriate caring is prevented; parents feel supported in their parenting role, and that transition to adulthood is supported,
  • No care or support package for a parent or sibling relies on excessive or inappropriate caring  by a young carer to make it sustainable,
  • Young carers are helped to achieve their potential, and to have the same access to education, career choices and broader opportunities as their peers;

In their foreword to the protocol, the two Presidents - Kim Bromley-Derry for ADCS and Jenny Owen for ADASS stress that where services are working with families, we should ensure that the needs of dependent children in the family, including those who may be assisting with caring, are recognised.  This means taking account of their hopes, aspirations, strengths and achievements and the need for advice and support for all the family.

It falls to professionals across all sectors to include them in shaping the personalised responses that best suit their needs within the whole family approach adopted. The approaches and goals we are setting out, however, apply no matter how competent or willing the young carer may appear to be. They apply equally whether care needs arise as a result of mental or physical illness, substance misuse, disability; or whether a parent or a sibling is the focus of support.

Both Presidents emphasise that, in their view, the key to ensuring better support and outcomes for young carers is effective assessment. As statutory directors we will ensure that when a referral is made about a parent with a disability, dependency or illness, agencies consider whether there is a child in the family who is providing personal care or practical help.


For further information contact
Jenny Owen, President, ADASS 01245 434806
Rebecca Godar, ADCS Press and Policy Officer, 0161 838 5763
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Copies of the full report, and pictures of Jenny Owen and Kim Bromley-Derry are available on request

* Working Together to Support Young Carers -  A Model Local Memorandum of Understanding between Statutory Directors for Children's Services and Adult Social Services ADCS/ADASS, December 2009

Notes for Editors

The wellspring of the protocol is the cross government strategy for carers launched in 2008. This set out a clear and challenging vision for young carers. It is that children and young people will be protected from inappropriate caring and have the support they need to learn, develop and thrive; to enjoy positive childhoods and to achieve against all the Every Child Matters outcomes.

The vision's overriding priority is prevention: ensuring young carers are actively protected from excessive or inappropriate caring. And that parenting roles are supported. This vision has been central to preparing of, and the anticipated operation of, this joint Memorandum of Understanding.

Its main aim is to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of young carers and their families by preventing and protecting children and young people from undertaking excessive and inappropriate caring roles and responsibilities and preventing the continuation of inappropriate caring.