160,000 young carers in England will benefit from a new era of support after a landmark change to the Children and Families Bill was debated and passed by the House of Lords yesterday (18 November 2013).

Our Director of Policy and Research and Chair of the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC), Dr Moira Fraser, has said: 

“We are delighted to see that the Government amendment to the Children and Families Bill has been passed thanks to the support from politicians from all the major political parties, as well as young carers and professionals across the country. 

“The new law will make a huge difference to young carers and their families and NYCC would like to thank everyone who has been involved in our campaign. We will continue to work with the government and local authorities to work out the best ways to implement the changes.”

What will these changes mean?

When the Bill becomes law in early 2014, young carers will have stronger rights to assessment and support. For too long, young carers have been slipping through the net between children’s and adults’ support services – hidden from view of the very authorities there to help them.

Now, when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family will be considered.  This will trigger both children’s and adults’ support services into action – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children from taking on this responsibility in the first place.

What's next?

It is important that the Government continues to listen to Carers Trust about how provisions in the Care Bill will support a whole family approach to protecting young carers. The regulations are going to be decided on in spring 2014 and we will continue work with Government to make sure the right changes to the Care Bill are made. 

These changes need to happen alongside new rights in the Children and Families Bill so that professionals support the whole family.

The Children and Families Bill is likely to become a new piece of legislation in February 2014 and the Care Bill should become law in spring 2014. Joint guidance for local authorities, services and professionals will then be developed and the new law for young carers will be implemented 2015.