The Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000
The Carers & Disabled Children Act 2000, implemented in Wales in August 2001, aims to build upon the Carers Act of 1995 and to give local authorities new and important powers to provide services directly to carers. This legislation is intended to enable local authorities to develop new services to support Carers. It will offer help to carers who need practical support to continue caring by making it easier for carers and disabled people to get services that will enable both to have a better quality of life.
What the legislation does for Carers:
- Gives carers, over the age of 16, the right to an assessment of their own needs, even when the cared for person does not want to be assessed.
- For the first time, local authorities can provide carers with services in their own right. Services to carers are not defined as such. Local authorities may provide any services which, in their view, will support the carer in their caring role and help them to maintain their own health and well being. These services are however subject to charging arrangements.
- Local authorities are able to provide vouchers and direct payments to carers and disabled people, so that they will have more freedom to choose the types of services they require.
- Young disabled people aged 16 & 17 are able to receive direct payments to purchase their own support services to meet their assessed needs under the Children Act 1989. This is intended to bring about improvements in the quality of life of people who would like to manage their own support.
A carer’s assessment under The Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 is carried out at the request of the carer in order:
- To determine whether the carer is eligible for support
- To determine the support needs of the Carer (i.e. what will help the carer in their caring role and help them to maintain their own health and well being)
- To see if those needs can be met by social or other services
Outcomes for the carer could be delivered in a number of ways:
- Advice, information or social work as part of the care management process
- A modification of the package for the cared for person that provides the carer with additional breaks etc through the delivery of additional or more convenient community care services to the cared for person
- The provision of "Carers' Services" through the Act
- Sign-posting to community services that the carer can access directly and that are free of charge (such as carers' centres and support groups etc.)
Under the Act, carers have a right to ask for an assessment. Good practice advocates that local authorities should have a policy of offering carers an initial assessment in circumstances where the carer is providing support to a community care service user.