A young carer is someone aged 18 or under whose life is affected by caring for at least one family member, over and above just 'helping out'. Young carers might look after:
- Close relatives
Children and young people help to care for a parent or other relative, for different reasons and in different ways. These might include because of a:
- Mental health problem
- Drug and alcohol related issues
Young carers can provide practical and emotional support such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, personal care and medication, and simply being there for company and love.
Young carers can find that caring for someone takes up a lot of their time; it can sometimes be very difficult for them to cope with everything - even when they want to and are happy to.
- Think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm
- Are caring for someone who you think is being abused
- Are caring for someone who is sometimes aggressive towards you
- Feel under great strain or stress and are becoming worried that you may hurt the person you care for
Then contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108. If you need help in the evenings or weekends contact the Out of Hours Service on 0300 456 0100. If there is immediate danger, or someone is injured, phone 999. You can also speak to someone you trust such as your family, a teacher, a doctor or an organisation that supports you. If nothing happens after this then it is important that you tell someone different.
Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally tough. Children and young people may skip school sometimes to try and fit everything in and might worry a lot about things at home. Young carers can sometimes forget to look after themselves. It can be hard for friends and teachers to understand exactly what they do each day and why they need to do it. It can be hard to find time to go out with friends or do homework. Lots of young carers also tell us that being a carer can be very rewarding.
Wiltshire Council's Safeguarding and Support Team carry out assessments of young people who care for someone else. An assessment is when an adult who works for the council gets to know the young person and the things they are dealing with to see if they need some help.
Anyone who thinks a child could be a young carer can refer the child into Wiltshire Council for a young carers' assessment.
Professionals should complete a DART (Diagnostic Assessment and Referral Tool) or SARF (Single Agency Referral Form). SARFs can be sent directly to the Integrated Front Door by emailing email@example.com
Once the referral is received, it will be allocated to a practitioner who will contact the family and arrange a visit. The Assessment is holistic and will look at what support can be offered to the family. If the young person is deemed a young carer and their caring responsibilities are having an impact on their day to day lives then a referral will be made to Carer Support Wiltshire, who provide support for young carers in Wiltshire.
Further information can also be found at the council's On Your Mind website which helps young people to look after their own emotional wellbeing. It is important to let people at school know about the caring that a young person does so that they can understand and help.
Carer Support Wiltshire raises awareness of, and supports, carers of all ages in Wiltshire. Carer Support Wiltshire work with Youth Action Wiltshire to support young carers. Once an assessment has been completed for a young carer, they may be referred to Carer Support Wiltshire and a support worker will then talk to the young carer about what help and support they can offer. This could include 1:1 support, coaching, mentoring or fun activities that will give the young carer
• A break from their caring role,
• A chance to have fun and meet other young carers,
• A chance to learn new skills.
Young carers moving towards the age of 18 may also request a 'transition assessment' from Carer Support Wiltshire. This assessment looks at what support they need now and may need when they turn 18 and beyond.