Could you recognise a Young Carer?
A Young Carer doesn’t have to be a teenager, they could be as young as 5 years old. A Young Carer doesn’t even need to see or call themselves a Carer. But any child or young person under the age of 18 that helps look after a family member with a disability, long term illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem, is a Young Carer.
What does a Young Carer do?
Being a Young Carer may mean extra jobs in and around the home such as:
- Household 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 budgets and appointments
- Looking after brothers and sisters
Usually the support is needed for a close family member like a parent, brother and sister , or grandparent, and could have simply become necessary overnight, or started from a young age and become part of “normal” life. But it’s important to remember that children and young people should not have to sacrifice school or miss out on the opportunity to do the same activities as friends.
These extra jobs whilst they could seem small, put added pressure on everyday life and leave children and young people at risk of mental health.
Watch the video below to learn more about what Young Carers do and the impact of their caring responsibilities.
So what should you do?
Whether you’re certain about what being a Young Carer involves and think this is you, or think you know someone else who matches some of the description and want to see if they could benefit from help – support is available.
An assessment is available to help everyone involved understand if young carers and their families are entitled to any help or support. This takes into consideration things like whether the jobs being done are appropriate, as well as personal choices about continuing to give support and who to involve in the process.
The assessment could really help focus what’s important for a young Carer, including education, opportunities for hobbies, and plans for the future. Those who are 16 or over and not in full-time education may also be eligible for help finding work, as well as support to understand finances which impact day to day life, like the Carers’ Allowance benefits.
So don’t second guess, if you think you need an assessment, or believe you know a Young Carer who would benefit from a Young Carers assessment, you can either talk to a teacher or contact the Children First Hubs below who can advise on the next steps:
- Wakefield Central and North West – 01924 303272
- Castleford, Pontefract and Knottingley – 01977 723591 (Option 2)
- Normanton & Rural – 01977 723327
- Featherstone and South East – 01977 723165
You can also learn more about the services for Young Carers in Wakefield and the support we offer to help alleviate pressures on their mental health, including education and leisure opportunities at http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/schools-and-children/early-help/young-carers