A young carer is a child or young person under the age of 18 who has responsibility for a relative who has a long term illness or disability or is older and frail. The caring role may be physical, emotional or both.
The family member may have a physical or learning disability, a long term life limiting illness, problems concerning mental health or alcohol or drug abuse related problems.
There are 177,918 young carers aged 5 -17 years in England and Wales (Census 2011)
Young carers may be:
New rights for young carers
The Children and Families Act 2014 is an important new piece of legislation.
Young carers, young adult carers and their families now have stronger rights to be:
The Act defines a young carer as “a person under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person“, this includes practical and/or emotional support.
Rights to an Assessment
The local council must carry out a young carer’s needs assessment if:
The assessment must consider:
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Taking Action After the Assessment
The council must:
Specialised support for carers aged 18 and under is then provided by national charity Spurgeons across Dudley borough on behalf of the council.
Spurgeons also works in schools and colleges to help them to recognise and support young carers. In addition they have a small amount of funding to develop support for young adult carers aged 19-25 years. Contact them on 01902 877 550, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.spurgeons.org.
Connexions offers advice to young people between the ages of 13-19 (or 25 if you have a disability) on a range of topics from employment and training, to health and housing needs. Staff from Connexions are aware of the role of young carers and where additional support may be found. Click on the link for information about Connexions and local contact details http://www.connexionsdudley.org/.
The What? Centre
The What Centre offers advice, information and counselling sessions to all young people between the ages of 13-25. They also offer individual support to young adult carers between the ages of 18-25. Contact them on 01384 379992 or email email@example.com or see their website www.thewhatcentre.com.