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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to enhance the position of carers under the age of 16. [114738]

We are taking a number of steps to help young carers. We are providing funding through the Carers Special Grant. The grant is worth £100 million in 2003–04, of which 20 per cent. is earmarked for children's services, including young carers, which enable young carers to have a break.

We are also funding The Children's Society to undertake a three-year project, the Young Carers Initiative. This has involved direct consultation with young carers, leading to the publication last November, with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, of "Making it Work, Good Practice with Young Carers and Their Families".

The initiative supports more than 250 projects or groups across the country working with young carers, where they can go for advice, information and support or leisure. The initiative has just entered its final year and is concentrating on developing standards for work with young carers.

Further, we are ensuring that young carers' needs are taken into account in developing work such as the national service framework for children.