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What Changes for Young Carers? A Qualitative Evaluation of the Impact of Dedicated Support Provision for Young Carers
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal  (IF1.862),  Pub Date : 2021-09-14, DOI: 10.1007/s10560-021-00790-9
Phelps, Daniel

In 2016, the Children’s Commissioner for England reported that the most frequent provision for young carers (YCs) comes from dedicated YC services. This study formed one part of a three-year evaluation of support for YCs and their families provided by the Hampshire YCs Alliance (HYCA), a county-wide collaboration of ten YC services in the UK. It set out to explore the following primary questions; (a) what are the most important changes that the YC services made to YCs and their families? (b) what is it about the services that creates those changes? Semi-structured interviews were carried out in 2017, with YCs aged 9–17 (n = 8), their parents (n = 5), HYCA staff (n = 6) and professionals from other stakeholder organisations (n = 5) and a thematic analysis was undertaken. Reflecting previous research that YCs and their families have a broad range of needs, findings also reveal how YC services support them through a diverse range of interventions. Support led to a diverse range of positive changes for YCs and their families. A number of service features that facilitate change for YCs, as well as ‘key dynamics’ important in facilitating change were identified. These findings have led to a conceptual framework of how YC services facilitate change for YCs and are important for understanding the impact these dedicated services can make to the lives of YCs and how they facilitate change. Together they have implications for the development and commissioning of interventions for YCs and families and how service providers promote their support provision.