You may have arrived at this page because someone has suggested that your child is a young carer and you are wondering about it.
A young carer is defined as someone under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for someone else. A list of questions follow that you can ask yourself to help you clarify if they are a carer.
Does your child:
- provide emotional support to someone – this could involve things like keeping someone company, helping them to stay positive, comforting them regularly
- need to be on hand to help someone with personal care, such as washing, toileting or getting dressed?
- need to stay at home a lot in case they are needed?
- help out with cooking, cleaning, shops or other jobs because someone cannot manage?
- look after brothers and sisters because someone is not feeling up to it?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it sounds like your child could be a young carer. This means they have certain rights and it means that there is support available for them to achieve what they want to in their life.
There could be many different feelings linked to acknowledging that your child is a young carer. It may evoke guilt, sadness, worry or frustration. These feelings could be connected to a vast array of possible reasons, frustration could be due to the sudden onset of a health condition or significant changes to family life, sadness could be linked to a loss of independence and self- sufficiency, guilt could be due to not feeling unable to fulfil parental responsibilities, or worry that a child’s caring responsibilities may be hindering their development.
The need for care can happen to anyone and for all kinds of reasons. It is estimated that there are as many as 800,000 young carers in the UK. You are not alone.
Care looks different in different families. Caring can involve practical responsibilities around the home, as well as help with personal care, help with medications, financial responsibilities and emotional care and support. A certain level of help is taken on by most children, but young carers are those who are taking on more than a ‘typical child’. Young carers are relied upon because the person could not manage without their support.
Young carers are entitled to an assessment of need from their Local Authority so that they can think about how they feel about caring and whether they have needs for support. In North Tyneside this assessment can be completed by anyone that the young person would like to complete it, as long as they have done the right training. If they haven’t, this person can still be present, but someone who has completed the training will need to take the lead. Assessments must involve the parents of the young carer and can involve anyone else that they or you wish to be involved.
Below, you can look at the North Tyneside Young Carers’ Needs Assessment document. If your child is under 12, they may be offered a more age appropriate assessment document, which you can find on North Tyneisde Council website.