Sandwell Young Carers

Sandwell Young Carers provides guidance and support to children and young people (aged 5-18) whose health, education and social lives have been affected as a result of caring for a dependent family member.




 

Sandwell Young Carers

Sandwell Young Carers provides guidance and support to children and young people (aged 5-18) whose health, education and social lives have been affected as a result of caring for a dependent family member.




 
 
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Sandwell Young Carers

WelCome

Welcome to Sandwell Young Carers’ ‘Young Carer Awareness Training Course’.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Aims & Objectives

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Have an understanding and awareness of young carers
  • Be more confident in recognising the signs of a young carer
  • Have an understanding of the rights for young carers
  • Be more confident in supporting and signposting young carers
 

Sandwell Young Carers

Young Carers

Definition

Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18, whose lives are restricted by the need to take responsibility for a person who is either:

  • Chronically ill
  • Has a disability
  • Has ill mental health
  • Is dependent on drugs and/or alcohol
  • Has HIV/AIDs
  • Is elderly or infirm

The ‘Cared-for’

The person being cared for may be a parent, sibling, grandparent, or extended family member. Some will be caring for more than one family member.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Roles & Responsibilities

Young carers will often be carrying out tasks that would normally be associated with adulthood.

A young carer may carry out one or more of the following caring roles:

  • Domestic management e.g. shopping, cleaning, washing, changing beds, cooking
  • Household management e.g. paying bills
  • Nursing tasks e.g. giving medication
  • Personal care e.g. bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding
  • Communication e.g. translating, sign language
 

Sandwell Young Carers

Are they a young carer? Click on each person to read their story.

Young carers will often be carrying out tasks that would normally be associated with adulthood.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Barriers

Being a professional working directly or indirectly with children and young people, you are well placed to identify young carers. Nonetheless, young carers are difficult to identify for several reasons including not recognising themselves as young carers, not wanting to appear different, a fear of coming to the attention of professionals and/or separation from their families.

It is important to acknowledge these fears and work with, rather than against the young carers to identify and support them.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Signs of a young carer

The signs that a child or young person may be a young carer can also be indicators of many other issues.

  • Someone in the family experiences illness, disability, mental ill-health or has a history of substance misuse
  • Often tired, anxious, withdrawn and/or worried
  • Regularly miss or late for appointments, school and/or meeting deadlines
  • Poor relationship with peers, isolated and/or victims of bullying
  • Showing signs of poor hygiene/diet
  • May take on a caring role with younger children
  • Outbursts due to emotional strain
  • Low self esteem and self confidence
  • A need or desire to be in regular contact with home due to concern of disabled or ill relative
  • Physical problems, back pain or other related pain
  • Talks openly or are secretive about their family/home life
  • Keen to listen to discussions about cared for health
  • Family are difficult to engage with
  • False maturity for their age and may demonstrate confidence when interacting with adults
 

Sandwell Young Carers

Impact – Education

  • Persistently late for school
  • Often leaves at lunch or before school finishes
  • High absenteeism
  • Poor concentration through tiredness and worry
  • Underachievement and/or deteriorating performance
  • Homework difficulties
  • Lack of participation in after school events
  • Withdrawn and isolated

Young carers are often the victims of bullying as they are seen as different; more mature, limited social skills, low self-esteem and secretive.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Impact – Health

  • Tiredness, lack of concentration, easily distracted
  • Emotional distress
  • Stress on bones (which are not yet formed)
  • Muscle pull (due to heavy lifting of the cared-for, shopping, furniture)
  • Stressed
  • A general feeling of being unwell (headaches, feeling sick, anxious)

Young carers are often the victims of bullying as they are seen as different; more mature, limited social skills, low self-esteem and secretive.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Impact – Social

  • Difficulty forming and sustaining friendships
  • Lack of participation in after school activities
  • Difficulty in taking part in social events with peers
  • Apprehensive in confiding with peers for fear of ridicule
  • False maturity
  • Unacceptable patterns of behaviour

Young carers can often be seen as unreliable by their peers as they will cancel arrangements last minute due to their caring role, or need to get home to tend to the 'cared for'.

 

Sandwell Young Carers

Prevalence

The figures below show the number of young carers aged 5-17 years identified on the UK National Census in 2001 and 2011:

  2001 2011 Increase
Within England and Wales 149,929 177,918 18.7%
Within West Midlands 16,526 18,979 14%

However, these figures are likely to be an underestimate of the real figure. Research by the BBC and the University of Nottingham estimated that there were 800,000 secondary-school age young carers in England alone.