'A just society can be judged on how it supports people who need care to live independent lives. Care for adults has rarely received the attention it deserves, but this is changing. Increasing care needs, rising expectations of care and uncertainty over the availability of services and how much support families can and should be expected to give, make care an issue affecting a growing number of people and a wider range of services than before. In 2005/6, over nine million people in England reported a long-term illness, health problem or disability that limits their daily activities - more than four million of whom were of working age.
There is also increasing understanding that chances for an independent, good-quality life are increased by individuals having choice and control over services, and this has positive implications for the potential to improve care services for adults. But we need to think beyond individual users and the existing adult social care provision. People with care needs use a range of services across the health, welfare and housing sectors as well as social care. Care must aim higher than meeting people's personal needs: we should be explicit that care is about enabling people to participate fully and equally in society.
This paper outlines how a care system that is fair for those that need or give care could take shape. It starts from a central point: the state cannot support adults with care needs to maximise their independence without better supporting care within families and across communities. This requires looking at how the range of public services - not just adult social care - support adults, families and communities.'
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