Last updated 12/11/2018
Early intervention is critical to ensuring that children do not take on inappropriate caring tasks; the need for children to provide care is increased when services to ill or disabled adults (or other family members) are inadequate, inappropriate or missing and when family based interventions are not provided. (The lives of Young Carers in England Qualitative report to DfE February 2016)
The Children and Families Act 2014 amended the Children Act to make it easier for Young Carers to get an assessment of their needs and to introduce ‘whole family’ approaches to assessment and support. This legislation is aligned with similar provision in the Care Act 2014 requiring local authorities to consider the needs of Young Carers if, during the assessment of an adult with care needs, or of an adult carer, it appears that a child is providing, or intends to provide, care. In these circumstances the authority must consider whether the care being provided by the child is excessive or inappropriate; and how the child’s caring responsibilities affects their wellbeing, education and development.
Sefton’s Children’s and Adult’s Services must work together to offer Young Carers and their families an effective service, be able to respond to the needs of a young carer, the person cared for, and others in the family. This avoids the need for multiple assessments where children and adults find they are expected to give the same answers to professionals from different services, coming into their home at different times.
It is essential that the vulnerabilities and needs of children and young people are recognised. Practitioners responsible for assessing adults with care needs must be able to recognise and respond to risks to children’s safety and welfare.
By working together in an integrated way, professionals place the child at the centre of all activities and are better able to identify holistic needs earlier and improve outcomes. We accept a joint responsibility to work in partnership with others to identify and respond to any Young Carers who are suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm and to protect them from this harm. We will do this in ways that keep children safe and:
- Focus on working together, early intervention and prevention;
- Reflect practice guidance;
- Doesn’t stigmatise families or risk increasing the number of hidden Young Carers; and,
Doesn’t discourage Young Carers and their families from seeking information and advice, or an assessment and provision of services.
A young carer is a person under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person (of any age, except generally where care is provided for payment, pursuant to a contract or as voluntary work). Children should not undertake inappropriate or excessive caring roles that may have an impact on their development. A young carer becomes vulnerable when their caring role risks impacting upon their emotional or physical wellbeing and their prospects in education and life.’
Care and Support Statutory Guidance - Care Act DH 2014 Paragraph 2.49.
A person is not a young carer if the person provides or intends to provide care does so by virtue of a contract or voluntary work. However Sefton MBC can consider that the relationship between the person cared for and the person under 18 providing or intending to provide care is such that it would be appropriate for the person under 18 to be regarded as a young carer.
Children and Families Act 2014
The impact for some children and young people who have these caring roles can be significant. Examples of negative impacts are:
- Problems at school, not completing homework, absenteeism, lateness and inability to take part in after school activities.
- Social Isolation from other children their age, feeling that no one else can understand his or her experience.
- Lack of free time for play, sports and leisure activities.
- Emerging behavioural problems, in some cases including youth offending activity.
- Emotional impacts, such as worry, depression, self-harm.
- Physical impacts, such as tiredness, fatigue, back injury.
- Lack of aspirations and career opportunities.
- Increased independence and maturity for their age.