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Young Carers

The Scottish Government has this year published what is believed to be Europe's first ever strategy specifically for young carers. Getting it Right for Young Carers is clear that although there are many positive aspects to being a young carer, caring can have a detrimental impact on young people who support parents, siblings, family members and friends affected by disability, illness or substance misuse. We are working closely with our partners to ensure services and support are put in place to relieve young carers of the burden of inappropriate caring and to enable them to be children and young people first and foremost.

Getting It Right for Young Carers deals with the issues impacting on young carers and identifies what needs to be done to ensure Scotland's young carers are better identified and supported. One of the most important steps is ensuring teachers, social workers, health staff, careers advisors and other professionals who work with children and young people are better able to identify young carers. Making sure we know when a child or young person is caring for a relative is the first step to making sure he or she is relieved of any burden of detrimental caring roles.

We have also committed funding to enable the Princess Royal Trust for Carers to deliver four annual Scottish Young Carer Festivals from 2008 to 2011 and funded three pilot initiatives, one addressing the mental health needs of young carers, another to develop a toolkit for primary school teachers, and a third supporting older young carers in the transition into employment, training or further education.

Getting It Right For Young Carers has a specific chapter on young adult carers. This recognises that the impact of caring can impact on young carers attendance and attendance at school and can limit their ambition. In the transition into adulthood, young adult carers can face particular challenges around combining the ongoing demands of caring, with their desire to enter employment, further education or training. This can have an adverse impact on their mental health, development and quality of life.

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