IARS Response to the Children’s Commissioner report on services provided to young carers by local authorities

Research conducted by the IARS International Institute indicates that BME young carers constitute one of the most, if not the most, marginalised and neglected groups by policy makers, the current administration and independent funders and educators. IARS’s work forms part of the EU funded Care to Work project and the findings are now backed up by the December Children’s Commissioner study on the current services provided to young carers by local authorities. The report, titled “Young Carers: The Support provided the young carers in England” incorporates findings of a survey issued to all local authorities in England capturing data on referrals relating to young carers, assessments and support provided to these young people.

The report sheds light to the inefficiencies of the current referral and assessment systems used by local authorities to capture the real numbers and needs of young people who are as young as 5 years old. The survey revealed that 94% of the referred young people are not deemed to be in need of support without even being offered an assessment. Furthermore, it is estimated that only 20% of the young carers are actually receive any support from their local authorities.

Dr. Theo Gavrielides, IARS’ Founder and Director, said: “The IARS International Institute welcomes this insightful report and applauds the concerns expressed by the Commissioner, Anne Longfield, about the levels of support that is available to children and young people with caring responsibilities”.

This timely evidence confirms and complements the findings of the Institute’s current youth-led work under the 2- year Erasmus+ funded Care to Work, an EU wide programme that aims to tackle the barriers faced by young Black, Asian and Minority young carers when accessing education, training and employment. Barriers that according to the report, are more persistent for BAME families who are less likely in general to access services that support young people with a disability or mental health problem due to cultural attitudes held about the shame or stigma associated with disability or mental health.

The report, titled “Young Black and Minority Ethnic Carers”: Barriers and Opportunities for Employment and Education” produced followed youth-led research in Italy, Greece and Sweden showed that despite that, in comparison to other European Countries, UK is characterised as a relatively “advanced” country in terms of awareness of young carers, research social policy and government guidance and service delivery, young carers are usually under the radar of research, educational and social justice policies.

Indeed, within a fragmented policy and service provision for young carers at local, national and European level, it is evident that a reform of the current service provision should be considered as the only way forward for the local authorities.

However, Care2Work results and our user-led ethos call for an organic change that incorporates the voices and experiences of young carers. Young carers should be at the heart of both service design and evaluation which further needs to reflect carers needs helping them break the barriers of social inequality.

In a step towards this goal, Care2Work promotes a youth led model of education for young carers and works in partnership with them to create training materials and tools that build upon the positive social skills acquired through their experiences as carers.  The Institute is due to release a freely available online version of the tool in January. An accredited online training course for professionals will be also freely available later this month.

The IARS International Institute in collaboration with our European partners is organising an international conference on the 27th April in London UK to present and debate the final findings of this EU-wide 2-year project with young people, professionals and policy-makers. Expression of interest at contact@iars.org.uk

Notes to Editors

C2W is delivered in partnership with 3 European partners Anziani e Non Solo (Italy), Linnaeus University (Sweden) and the Family and Childen Care Centre (Greece), under the leadership of the  IARS International Institute. The project has its own dedicated website WWW.CARE2WORK.ORG

  • Download the full report “Young Black and Minority Ethnic Carers”: Barriers and Opportunities for Employment and Education here
  • Download the UK report “Barriers and Needs of Young Carers in the UK” here
  • Each country has produced a national report in their native languages that takes into consideration cultural, societal, financial and institutional contexts (with Executive Summaries of all being available in English).
  • To find out more about the Care2Work Programme and to get involved in the activities please follow the link 
  • Care2Work is co-funded by Erasmus+ under the Agreement 2014-2-UK01-KA205-011967
  • Follow us on Twitter #care2work