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4.17.2 Carer's Assessments


This chapter was updated in April 2012 to provide new links in Section 2, What is a Carers Assessment. Section 4, Informing Carers of their Right to an Assessment was also slightly amended.

This chapter is currently under review.


  1. Scope
  2. What is a Carer's Assessment
  3. Legislation
  4. Informing Carers of their Right to an Assessment
  5. Recording the Assessment

1. Scope

This procedure applies to all cases where it appears that a parent has significant additional caring responsibilities for their child as a result of the child being physically ill or disabled, or mentally ill, or having a learning or sensory disability.

The definition of disability applicable when considering the need for a carer's assessment is wider than that used by Hertfordshire. Young people who have a diagnosed mental illness are categorised as disabled under the Children Act 1989. Children with a formal diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be considered as disabled, in that they have an impairment of mental origin which has substantial and long term effects on ability to carry out everyday tasks. The need for a carer's assessment should be carefully considered in such cases.

2. What is a Carer's Assessment

The needs of a disabled child living with their family cannot be fully understood without also considering the impact of meeting the child's needs on the parent and siblings. If their needs as carers are not considered, it is unlikely that the child's needs can be met.

The purpose of a carer's assessment is to ensure that the decisions made about the services to be offered take full account of the impact of caring on the carer's life, including their physical and emotional health, their social life and their own career and personal development.

A carer's assessment is therefore the part of an Child and Family Assessment that considers the needs of the parents as carers.

The following links may assist:

Carer's organisation

And SCIE Guide 9: Implementing the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004

3. Legislation

Successive legislation has strengthened the entitlement of carers to services in their own right.

The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 requires the authority, when carrying out an assessment of the needs of a disabled child (or an adult under community care legislation) to also assess (on request) the ability of carers to provide and continue to provide care. The authority is then required to take that assessment into account when deciding what services should be offered.

The Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 introduced powers which:

  • Give carers the right to an assessment for themselves, even when the child (or adult) refuses one;
  • Enable the local authorities to make direct payments to carers (including 16 and 17 year old carers).

The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2005:

  • Places a duty on the authority to inform carers of their right to a carer's assessment;
  • Requires the authority to consider, when undertaken a carer's assessment, whether the carer works or wishes to work, and whether they are undertaking or wish to undertake any education, training or leisure activity. Who assesses?

The carer's assessment will be carried out by the team responsible for assessing the cared for child's needs. This may either be either a Children with Disabilities Team or an Assessment or Locality Team.

4. Informing Carers of their Right to an Assessment

The authority is required to inform carers of their right to an assessment. However the offer of an assessment must be undertaken sensitively. Many carers find it hard to speak of their difficulties coping with the caring role. Additionally carers are likely to understand "carer's assessment" as some kind of test or judgement of their adequacy as a parent, rather than an exploration of their need for support.

It should be explained to carers that part of the overall assessment will include the need to understand how caring for the child is impacting on the carer's life and whether there are any additional ways in which they can be supported or helped as carers.

It will often be appropriate to make a separate appointment to discuss the carer's needs, and parents of children with disabilities in Hertfordshire have made it clear that they would welcome seeing a copy of the checklist of topics to be discussed in advance of the meeting.

Carers may decline an assessment. If they do so, the reasons for doing so should be carefully explored. The fact that an assessment has been offered and declined should be recorded.

5. Recording the Assessment

The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families is the assessment tool for all assessment work undertaken by children's social care services. As the carer's assessment is a component of the Child and Family Assessment, it is not recorded separately.

The CS&SS Carer's Assessment checklist - link to follow has been developed with parents of children with disabilities to assist professionals carrying out the assessment, but the Child and Family Assessment should be used to record the assessment.

The assessment document needs to be completed in such a way that it is apparent that the needs of the carers and the impact of caring for the disabled child on their lives have also been considered.