Unequal conditions of care and the implications for social policies on young carers

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Young carers are the subject of public policies in the UK, which aim to address their needs as a group experiencing disadvantage relating to their caring role. These policies are implemented in a way that aims to improve their health and their educational and social opportunities, but left unaddressed is a wider context of inequalities. Nevertheless, inequalities are a feature of the terrain upon which social policies for young carers are developed and implemented. Evaluation of the ways that young carers and their families are impacted by public policies demands an understanding of those inequalities. Academic knowledge of how experiences diverge as a result of multiple intersecting inequalities is so far limited. This paper reports from a study that aimed to contribute greater understanding of the interaction between inequalities, young carers, family life and social policies in England. Ethnographic research methods created a record of care, family life and the impact of social policies. Unequal conditions of care are an important feature of the lives of young people and their families with on-going caring responsibilities. Young carers and their families positioned at the intersection of inequalities of ‘race’/ethnicity, class and disability had different and unequal experiences of support. The paper discusses these findings and explores the implications for social policies and social work practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505–518
Number of pages14
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the work was generously provided by the University of Birmingham School of Social Policy Studentship and a Postdoctoral Policy Impact Fellowship funded by the UKRI Quality-Related Research Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Young carers
  • Inequality
  • intersectionality
  • Ethnicity
  • Class
  • Disability


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