Young Carers are children and young people under 18 who provide or intend to provide care for another person of any age, except where that care is paid for or carried out as voluntary work.
Young Carers can face many challenges because of their caring role. They can be forced to grow up early and miss out on the same opportunities as their peers because they care for family members who are disabled, chronically ill, or for adults who are experiencing problems with poor mental health, drugs or alcohol.
The level of support a Young Carer offers can vary, with common jobs including:
- Practical tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and shopping
- Physical care, such as helping someone move around
- Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed
- Personal care, such as helping someone dress
- Managing household budgets and appointments
- Collecting prescriptions and helping to give medicine
- Looking after brothers and sisters
Young Carers often miss school because of their caring responsibilities at home which can have a negative impact on their future plans. They are also at an increased risk of mental health problems because of the added pressure to their lives. Commonly, Young Carers are caring for relatives without teachers and other professionals knowing.
The Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families Act 2014 give local councils and their partners the duty to take reasonable steps to identify young carers, to assess the impact of their caring responsibilities on the appearance of need, that is without a request having to be made, and to consider the impact of caring on that child or young person.
Where Young Carers have needs which require support, local councils and partners have to provide support directly to the Young Carer or demonstrate that the cared for person’s assessment has provided adequate care and support to prevent the Young Carer from providing inappropriate levels of care.
Inappropriate levels of care could mean that a Young Carer is at risk of harm.
If you feel that a young person could be taking on the roles of a young carer, please contact the Safeguarding Team where we can help to assess and support the application process.
Further information for pupils and parents
Information reproduced with kind permission from:
Additional information available from:
- The Youth Work Team run a youth group Young Carers aged 11 and above
- Barnardos WESAIL offer support for families who are caring for a child or a young person, aged 0 to 25 years old, with special educational needs or a disability
- Carers Wakefield & District offer support and groups for Young Adult Carers aged 17 to 25
- School Nursing offer health assessments for Young Carers.