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Young Carers

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.

Impact

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

Referral

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.

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