What does being a young carer mean?
Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old, who look after a member of the family who is sick, disabled, has mental health problems or is misusing drugs or alcohol.
Lots of children and young people want to help out and feel proud that they are lending a hand. At the same time the impact of these caring responsibilities may cause difficulties at home, school, college or elsewhere.
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise someone as a young carer, but does this sound like your family or a family you know?
How we can support carers and families
When a young carer is referred to us we will contact them and arrange to meet with them to discuss their needs and develop a support plan.
This meeting usually takes place at home with their family. Or, as long as the child's parent or guardian agrees, we can meet at their school or another safe place. We may also call some families to discuss their needs over the phone.
Our priorities are to:
- make sure the young carer is safe and being looked after
- reduce the amount of caring a young person has to do if it is too much for them, by thinking about the needs of the whole family
- help the young carer to get more support at school or college
- make sure that the young carer gets a regular break and time for friends and fun
- check that the young carer is supported by other adults and professionals in their lives
- make sure that the young carer has someone to talk to when things are difficult
- check that the family are receiving all the support or financial benefits available to them
- improve the life opportunities of the young carer.
Contact us about a young carer
For us to start offering support we need someone to refer the young carer to us. This helps us understand the situation, decide what support may be needed and allocate a support worker to the young carer.
Usually an adult will make a referral on behalf of a young person. This could be a teacher, social worker, another professional or one of the young person's parents.
It is important that whoever makes the referral has asked the family for permission to contact us and that they are happy for their information to be shared.
At this point we are also keen to know what support the family thinks would be useful.
To make a referral email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To speak to us about a young carer, call 01903 270300 and ask to talk to the 'Young Carers Duty Worker'.