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Young Carers and their Families.
  1. TONY WATERSTON, Consultant Paediatrician (Community Child Health)

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    Young Carers and their Families. By Becker S, Aldridge J, Dearden C. (Pp 144; paperback £14.99.) Blackwell Science, 1998. ISBN 0 632 04966 9 .

    A day in the life of a child caring for a parent with multiple sclerosis.

    Children caring for their parents or other children in the family are familiar to those who have worked in the third world but even with the UK’s welfare service and safety net there are between 15 and 40 000 child carers nationwide. Oddly, just before starting to read this book I attended a meeting at a local school where we have begun a system of multiagency review of pupils not in school; the first young person discussed was caring for a parent and grandparent. We need to be more aware of this problem—hence this academic overview is welcomed.

    Written by a trio of sociologists the book comes from a community and family based perspective but there is much of value to paediatricians. The authors first describe three perspectives on child carers: the impact of disability on the family, which is mainly medical; the children’s rights angle; and the view of the disability rights movement. The first is viewed rather negatively as being narrow, but to me …

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