Last updated 12/11/2018
It is vitally important that all front line practitioners across the Children’s and Adult’s workforce identify potential Young Carers in carrying out their normal assessment and delivery functions. Section 96(12) of the Children and Families Act requires Sefton MBC to take reasonable steps to identify the extent to which there are Young Carers within their area who have support needs. These changes align with changes in the Care Act requiring local authorities to offer assessments of need to adult carers and to identify adult carers with unmet needs within their local population.
This duty means that Sefton must do what is possible to reach out to Young Carers and their families to prevent Young Carers from remaining hidden in local communities.
Not all children who have ill or disabled parents or siblings take on caring roles or do so in ways that cause difficulties. Circumstances will vary. What is important is that we work closely with the family and the young person so that reasonable steps can be taken to pre-empt likely problems and any emerging difficulties affecting well-being can be identified at an early stage.
Adult Services, in addition to assessing parental social care needs, have a key role in identifying Young Carers, as they will often be the first point of contact. At the point of assessing the cared-for person, adult services will ask whether the person they are assessing has children and, if they do, what impact they feel their situation has on them.
When assessing any family it will be the responsibility of the practitioners to identify the caring responsibilities of any (other) child or young person on the family.
Good assessments support professionals to understand whether a child has needs relating to their care or a disability and/or is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. The specific needs of disabled children and Young Carers should be given sufficient recognition and priority in the assessment process.
Assessments for some children including Young Carers will require particular care. Where a child has other assessments it is important that these are coordinated so that the child does not become lost between the different agencies involved and their different procedures.
The assessment must consider and decide:
- Whether the young carer has needs for support in relation to the care which he or she provides or intends to provide.
- If so, whether those needs could be satisfied (wholly or partly) by services which the authority may provide under an Early Help or Children’s Social Care plan.
- If they could be so satisfied, whether or not to provide any such services in relation to the young carer.
Schools including academies are encouraged to:
- Incorporate into individual pupil plans recognition and support for the positive aspects of the young carer’s role, as well as providing the personalised support necessary to enable Young Carers to attend and enjoy school.
- Have a named staff member with lead responsibility for Young Carers and to recognise this role within continuing professional development.
- Have in place a policy to encourage practice that identifies and supports Young Carers such as adapting school arrangements if needed, provision for personal tutors and private discussions and access to local Young Carers’ projects.
- Promote open communication with families that supports parenting capacity and encourages the sharing of information.
Primary health including GPs and dentists is encouraged to work with families who have Young Carers with a view to:
- Promoting and sustaining healthy lifestyles and diets
- Encouraging regular exercise
- Ensuring good oral health
- Raising awareness and reducing risks of substance misuse
- Offering smoking cessation support to Young Carers interested in giving up.
- Raising awareness of maintaining emotional well-being and reducing personal stress
- Enabling young people to assess risks about lifting and handling and provide
- information, advice and support to remove or reduce risk of injury as necessary
- Promoting safe procedures for control of medication that do not involve Young Carers.