We have introduced significant changes to support for young carers, with statutory entitlements to young carers’ assessments from April 2015. Local authorities are held to account for such assessments and support through the social care inspection framework. Further, as we set out in our adult social care White Paper, we will amend the school census at the earliest opportunity to include young carers, allowing us to establish a wealth of evidence on this cohort.
I welcome more information being found out about young carers, because this is a hidden health crisis. A constituent came to see me. She is a young person now and has been a young carer for many years. The impact on her educational attainment, physical health and mental health has been devastating. There are 800,000 young carers in the UK, with 800 of them in Wandsworth where support services have been slashed. Does the Minister recognise the impact of that unpaid child labour and does she have a plan to tackle it?
Very much so. Young people should be protected from inappropriate and excessive caring responsibility, and adult and children’s services need to work together better. We recognise, though, the lack of hard data and evidence on outcomes for young carers. That is where we are and that is why we have made the commitment, with the Department for Education, to amend the school census. We intend to introduce that as early as 2022-23 and each year thereafter. The data will be collected at primary school and secondary school, so we will be able to look at all kinds of outcomes for this particular cohort and take actions.