Is your child a young carer?
The Care Act 2014 defines a young carer as, ‘a person under 18 who provides care for another person of any age who may be physically or mentally ill, elderly, frail, disabled or who misuses alcohol or other substances’.
We estimate that there are between 4,000 – 5,000 young carers in Sefton supporting a parent, sibling, or other family member or neighbour who could not manage without that support.
What kind of care and support are young carers providing?
The responsibilities young carers undertake can vary greatly and it all depends very much upon individual family circumstances. These responsibilities normally fall into one or more of the following six categories:
- Domestic tasks - cleaning, cooking, laundry etc
- Household management tasks – shopping, household repairs, etc
- Personal care – helping a person to dress, undress, wash and use the bathroom etc
- Emotional care – providing a person with company, taking them out etc
- Sibling care – responsibility for looking after brothers and sisters
- Financial/practical care – managing household finances, paying bills, working part-time to help with family finances
Most children and young people help out at home with some of these tasks but young carers are doing much more than simple chores, such as keeping their bedrooms tidy or going to the shops.
They may be caring for someone in the household with a long-term health condition or a physical disability. They could be caring for a brother or sister who may have a physical or learning disability or a behavioural problem.
How can young carers be affected by their role?
Whilst some caring can be rewarding for young carers, they can sometimes experience poorer mental and physical health than their non-caring peers and miss out on opportunities in education and employment, and in some cases their leisure time and social life can be severely restricted.
Perhaps they are not doing as well at school as they might, perhaps they are not able to share time with friends or to just chill and enjoy ‘me time’.
Depending upon family circumstances some young carers may even be required to provide care which could be described as excessive or inappropriate.
All young carers are entitled to an assessment of their needs and to receive appropriate personalised support.
What are we doing to help young carers?
To support young carers we need to know who they are and where they are. Consequently, we are working very closely with Sefton’s schools, colleges and other partners to identify them and to offer personalised support.
Here are some of the ways we can support young carers
- We will listen to them
- Provide them with one to one support
- Invite them to a weekly activity group and fun outings with other carers
- Provide them with advice and information
- Signpost them and their parents to other services
- Support their mental health, and arrange counselling if appropriate
- We may invite them to join us on one of our residential trips
- We will improve their access to services
- If requested to do so, and with parental permission, we will talk to their school, college, doctor or social worker to arrange additional support
- We will support them as they move through school, to college, to university, or to employment or training
In other words, our service will do whatever it can to support them and their families for as long as that support is required.
Making a referral to our service
You can make a referral on-line by clicking here to access the referral form.
If you prefer we can post a form to you.
If you have any difficulty accessing or completing the form please call one of the team on 0151 288 6060.
What happens next?
As soon as possible after the referral is received someone will contact you to discuss next steps.