If you are under 18 and you are providing care or going to provide care for another person, you are entitled to support from your Local Authority. When we talk about care, this includes practical and/ or emotional support. Your caring role may involve things like looking after your brothers and sisters or helping around the house, but it may involve things that are less obvious to other people, like supporting someone when they feel down or helping someone manage their feelings.
There is also a young person’s guide to the Children and Families Act here
Guide to your rights
- Local Authorities should be doing everything they can to find out if there are young carers living in their area and if there are, what help they need. They should be communicating with schools and other agencies working with children to identify when young people are caring.
- Once they have identified that you are a carer, or you /your parents have asked for some help, a professional who works for the local authority will offer you a Young Carers’ Needs Assessment.
- The assessment should be completed by someone who has attended training to understand more about what it is like to be a young carer. This will help the process because you will know that they understand the sort of thing you are experiencing. There are regular training sessions run in North Tyneside for professionals to attend.
- In North Tyneside, you can choose who you would like to complete your assessment. It might be a Teacher, or a Learning Support Assistant, or a Counsellor, or someone from Children’s Services. If there is someone that you would like to involve who hasn’t been on the training, that is OK, they can come along and support you. They will just need to do it with someone else who has.
- Your parents or carers should be involved in the assessment. They may be able to give some extra information to the person completing the assessment. You must be given the chance to have time alone with the person completing your assessment though, so that you can talk about all aspects of your caring role.
The assessment should help you to talk about the following things:
- The things that you enjoy and the things that you don’t enjoy about your caring role
- Whether your caring role is stopping you from doing anything that you need or want to do, like fully participating in school, college, university, leisure time, time with your friends, employment
- How your caring role makes you feel
- You should leave you assessment with a plan for how your needs are going to be met.
- You should be given a copy of your assessment after it has happened.
- Your assessment should be reviewed regularly.
In order to be able to conduct Young Carers’ Needs Assessments, professionals must complete training. The training is available on North Tyneside’s learning pool and is split into two modules: ‘Introduction to young carers’ and ‘Delivering Young Carers’ Needs Assessments in North Tyneside’. If you have not been offered an assessment, tell someone at school about this.
Other important points
- You should not be relied on to keep someone safe on your own. The Local Authority must find a way of changing this if this is the case.
- Your caring role should not have a negative impact on your health, wellbeing or education. The Local Authority must find a way of changing this if this is the case.
- If your circumstances change, you are entitled to have another assessment.
- You should also have what is called a ‘transition assessment’ before you turn 18, to make sure that the Local Authority is appropriately planning for your support as you become an adult.
If you would like more information about your rights or you want to talk about anything that is related to this, North Tyneside Carers’ Centre has a team of specialist staff who you can talk to.
Contact The Young Carers’ Service on (0191) 643 2298 or email them here: (CONTACT US MECHANISM)