This report on Effective Caring aims to identify the needs of carers including the factors that sustain carers in their caring role, identify effective interventions and to develop and set out a prioritised research agenda in this area. The Effective Caring project has been carried out in several stages: § An international literature review § A workshop of key service delivery and academic experts aiming to identify: § Priorities for improving routine practice in carer support networks § Priorities for building a coherent research and development agenda § This final report that incorporates both the literature review and the outcomes of the workshop. This report addresses what has been gathered through a review of Australian and international academic and practice literature, and a concurrent analysis of policy and practice in Australia. The findings are designed to provide an evidence base, both for carer interventions and for a research agenda that complements and extends the work already done on understanding and assessing carers’ needs. The findings are presented in two volumes, one containing the background and methods and the findings set out as a synthesis of the evidence, and a second volume of attachments containing the detailed description of the material found in the search strategies. The national legislative and policy context shows a progressive growth of sophistication in the way that carers and their roles are understood, from marginal to more central in policy formation, and from a generalised part of the community care ‘integration problem’, to being treated as a segment of the population and a focus in the community care sector to be understood in its own right. The continuation of this trend towards a more central role for carers appears inevitable and has a number of implications. Within the specific carer support programs there is likely to be continued development and expansion of the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) and State and Territory based carer support programs. The focus on carer support interventions within the mainstream of service provision implies a more consistent approach to carers across the range of human service programs. If that likely growth is underpinned by coherent and effective intervention strategies, then the essential next step is a carefully prioritised and sequenced program of research and development. From the review carried out for this project the States and Territories and advocacy groups point out there is clearly scope for work within the carer support sector toward a clearer division of labour and combined effort, a focus on restorative and rehabilitation strategies, and providing a common a base for training and support for carers and workers in the community care sector. If improving the focus on carer support interventions is to avoid fragmentation and to mesh with the wider system reform agendas, then that implies a consistent approach (at the very least): between sub-programs within the NRCP; the systems of income support for carers; the disability sector; and State and Territory based carer support programs.