Young Carers are children and young people under 18 years old whose lives are affected by caring for an unwell member of the family. They care for a relative who may have a physical or learning disability, a long term illness, a terminal condition, mental illness, or difficulties with drug or alcohol use.
Young Carers may feel good about the help that they give and be proud of the skills they have. However caring may also impact on:
- Their attendance at school or college
- Completing homework and gaining qualifications
- Taking part in after school clubs, school trips or residential opportunities
- Enjoying time with friends or doing hobbies
- Their own mental health and emotional wellbeing
Children should not undertake inappropriate or excessive caring roles that have an impact on their development and wellbeing. Updated legislation in The Care Act 2014 (Department of Health) and The Children and Families Act 2014 (Department for Education) requires local authorities to assess the child’s needs in the context of a whole family assessment from April 2015.
The child’s school and GP should be informed that the child is a young carer, so that they are aware of the possible impact on the child.
The Southampton Young Carer’s Project provide a range of services:
- Group work in the community or school
- Activities and outings to give a break from caring responsibilities
- One-to-one support to Young Carers who have complex needs
- Work with schools on how to support Young Carers and their families
- Signposting to other support services
- Support a young carer’s transition to being an adult carer
Our young carers e-learning course is currently unavailable, but a new course that takes a 'whole family' approach to the role of both adult and young carers should be available from July 2018.
Southampton Information Directory gives examples of some of the ways young carers provide support.