Young carers are children and young people who spend time looking after someone else - usually a family member who is mentally or physically ill or has some form of disability which means they need help.
Being a young carer forces the child or young person to take on much more responsibility than is normal for their age and can cause a lot of worry and stress.
Young Carers' Support In Haringey
The Youthspace website offers advice and local contacts for Young Carers.
Haringey's Young Carers Project supports young carers by offering:
- someone to talk to
- advice and support
- the chance to meet other young carers
- trips and activities
- people who are trained to act on your behalf
- help with money
- guidance on what to do in an emergency
- information about how to cope with illness and disability
- the opportunity to discuss your needs and what support you might need
The London Child Protection Procedures on Young Carers
A young carer is a child who is responsible for caring on a regular basis for a relative (usually a parent, grandparent, sometimes a sibling or very occasionally a friend) who has an illness or disability.
This can be primary or secondary caring.
Caring responsibilities can significantly impact upon a child’s health and development. Many young carers experience:
- Social isolation
- A low level of school attendance
- Some educational difficulties
- Impaired development of their identity and potential
- Low self-esteem
- Emotional and physical neglect
- Conflict between loyalty to their family and their wish to have their own needs met
Professionals in all agencies should be alert to a child being a young carer. Where a young carer is identified, professionals should consider the child’s support needs in the first instance via Early Help services.
A referral should be made to LA children’s social care, where a young carer is:
- Unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development because of their caring responsibilities;
- At serious risk of harm through abuse or neglect;
- Providing intimate body care.
Unless there is reason to believe that it would put the child at risk of harm, young carers should be told if there is a need to make a referral, in order that their trust in a professional is retained.
Where a young carer is caring for another child, each individual child should be assessed using the Common Assessment Framework, except if the child/ren are at risk of significant harm.