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Fact sheet

Social exclusion

There are many forms of social exclusion in the UK today, leading to individuals and families being unable to take up the opportunities that most of us take for granted. People can be socially excluded as a result of poverty, illness, disability, stigma and other factors. Families can be affected by multiple forms of social exclusion, such as substance misuse problems, mental illness and long-term physical disabilities simultaneously.

For individuals in families, taking on inappropriate or overdemanding caring roles can lead to isolation, poor health and reduced life chances, including ability to take on paid employment. Regardless of the origin of problems faced by socially excluded families, children and young people within these families are a key client group for support from health and social care services. These young people may face barriers to their education and future employment prospects because they have had to take on adult caring responsibilities.

The move into adulthood for young carers is very likely to be disadvantaged by lack of qualifications, limited social skills and continuing caring responsibilities, making entry into the labour market difficult. This section discusses the issues surrounding transition into adulthood and how health and social care can ease this process for young carers.

Substance misuse problems are a key concern for professionals working with socially excluded families. This section also offers information and resources for professionals working with children and young people caring for people with substance misuse problems.