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This study examines some of the stresses, rewards and motivations associated with being a carer in a family placement scheme offering long-term care to adults with learning disabilities. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 20 carers in a family placement scheme in the North of England. The carers reported that the greatest stress is caused by factors such as severe incontinence or challenging or asocial behaviour. The rewards gained from being a carer were both altruistic, for example seeing the clients develop towards greater independence, and personal, for example in fulfilling a need to care described in terms of the general caring roles of a parent, spouse or professional carer. The lack of research into this model of care is highlighted.