Young Carers Not Getting Support ? Probably The Second Best Understatement So Far This Year ?

Following on from the recent Carers Radio broadcast , a local article which could be expanded on a nationwide level :

_**Council warns that 2,000 young carers are missing out on vital support.

Cornwall Council estimates that around half of the 4,000 or so under 25s providing unpaid care for family members in Cornwall are missing out on vital support.**_ >


The council is encouraging young carers to come forward and access the support available to them.

A film featuring young people from across Cornwall hopes to encourage more young carers to access support services.

The film has been produced by Kernow Young Carers and features young people like Bethany, who said: “I didn’t realise I was a carer when I was younger, because it was a gradual process, but it’s quite a responsibility when you are nine or ten years old.

"When I was younger I used to look after my Nan, but when she passed away that’s when I started to look after my mum because she started to go downhill.

“There are stressful times when you are a carer and sometimes you do feel overwhelmed. Young Carers is about going out and having an opportunity to do things you wouldn’t normally do; you’ve got a set date and something to look forward to. It breaks up that time that you are at home looking after a parent or sibling and you learn a lot about yourself being a part of Cornwall Young Carers.”

Kernow Young Carers is an Action for Children that provides activities and support groups for young carers up to 25 years old who look after parents, siblings and other family members.

The service is aimed at making sure their caring does not stop them having the same opportunities as everyone else.

The support includes information, advice and guidance, activities and trips, short breaks, support groups, and support in schools.

Councillor Sally Hawken, cabinet portfolio holder for children & young people said: “Young carers don’t always realise that they are a young carer; helping with medication, cooking, cleaning, or helping to dress the person they look after.

"We offer a lot of support which can really make a difference to young carers. This Young Carer’s Awareness Day today, we are taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the information and support available to young carers in Cornwall.”

Over 700 young carers supported by Kernow Young Carers are referred due to their parent’s health problems, which can include disability or long term illness.

Nearly 500 young people care for a sibling, and 180 care for parents with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Other reasons for young people becoming carers include parental substance misuse, caring for a grandparent who lives in the family home, and young adult carers who care for a partner.

Kernow Young Carers regularly attend schools to give information to pupils about the support available. They help schools to identify and support young carers, and can also offer 1-1 support where the caring role is having a significant impact on their own welfare and opportunities. They run activities in the holidays to give young carers a break from their caring role and have access to funding to give young carers a trip out on their own or with the person they care for.

Aaron is also part of Kernow Young Carers, he said: “I have been a young carer for a year or two, before I joined Kernow Young Carers, life was hard. Not knowing who’s out there or if anyone can help or show support. Since day one I have loved it, and the way I can just talk to people and they understand the situation I am in, because some people don’t understand the consequences of being a carer. For example going out with mates – I cannot do that because I am caring for my mum and brother.

“My grandad has been a rock for me and my mum because he takes us where we need to go in the car, and helps care for my mum and brother, so he knows the impact and what it’s like to look after someone. Being with Young Carers helps me talk about being a carer confidently to my mates and people who are going through the same but care for different relatives, and I can make new friends.

“I would like to say thank you to Kernow Young Carers and I would recommend them to anyone, and I would like to say if you care for anyone at any age, go speak to them, don’t hold back. It does not matter if you are five or 16, go speak to them and you will see the difference.”

Just some general observations :

  1. 166,000 " Known " young carers in England … Census 2011 suggests TEN times this number,

  2. Disadvantages of holding one’s hand up and declaring " I am a young carer " … ridicule from friends / fear of sibling and / or
    parent being taken away /embarrassment / fear of suits … just a few that come into play here.

  3. Support ? What exactly ? Support geared for him / her to carry on caring at all costs ? Isolation and repetition can lead to mental health problems ? What’s out there to tackle those in the future ?

( Remove the problem , problem solved ? )

  1. Family / kinship caring … again , comes into play big time here … especially when family units are involved. Depending on which tag , statutory guidelines are different … what if a child is both ???

Just a few to ponder on …

Young carers " Given detention " for being late for school.


**_Young carers who are late for school are getting detention from teachers unaware of their personal circumstances.

A council scrutiny meeting was told that some local schools are oblivious to the fact that some pupils were unable to be punctual because of their responsibilites at home.

Councillor Kathy Scott said on Wednesday she’d been made aware of the issue at a recent conference and said more help was needed to be given to young carers.

There are an estimated 800,000 children in the UK looking after a relative, but the meeting was told many more may be “under the radar”.

Councillor Scott, deputy chair of Wakefield’s children and young people scrutiny committee, said: "Because they’re caring for a relative, there’s kids who are coming in late for school and they’re getting detention for it, because the teachers just aren’t aware.

"We used to give cards out for young people for them to be able to show at school. I think we need to bring them back.

“Some of these young people can’t do their homework because of their responsibilities looking after either a parent, a sibling, or in some cases a grandparent. I think we need to look at that.”

Councillors were told that the situation was made more difficult because some youngsters did not want to tell anyone about their circumstances.

Teacher Gerry O’Donnell, who sits on the committee said he’d be “concerned” if his school was unaware that a pupil was a young carer.

He said: "From the school’s point of view, they are judged on results, but I’d also be concerned from a caring point of view.

"We need to know who these students are so that we can help them.

“It’s not just being late for school, it’s their homework as well.”

[u]Labour’s Kevin Swift said it was unfair for pupils with homecare responsibilities to be judged by the same criteria as their peers.

He said: "These children’s lives will be affected to the degree that it’s substantially getting in the way of their progress in school.

“Should that child really be judged to the same degree of demands (as other students) at that time of their lives? The effect on their lives must be very long-lasting.”[/u]

A number of charities offer support for young carers, including The Carers Trust and The Children’s Society._**