Over the last decade services supporting young carers have evolved significantly. Many have expanded the services they offer from providing respite activities, to delivering more targeted support (such as one to one sessions and advocacy) and more recently to supporting the whole family in order to reduce the caring role of any children in the household.
Support for young adult carers
Awareness and support for young adult carers has vastly increased along with recognising the importance of dedicated support and services as they grow into adulthood. This includes key transitions between children’s and adults’ services and access to further education and employment.
There is now general recognition that the best way to support young carers is to take a ‘whole family approach’. Whole family working involves understanding and addressing the needs of the family as a whole.
This means considering the impact of an individual’s additional needs on the rest of their family and addressing a child’s needs within the context of their family, instead of in isolation.
Young carers are experts
It is crucial that young carers and their families are involved in the development of services that affect them. Young carers know what would make their lives better and are the experts when it comes to their needs and their caring roles. Young carers’ voices need to be heard. Think Local Act Personal have developed Making it Real for Young Carers to support commissioners with this.
Carers Trust Toolkit: Commissioning Services for Young Carers and their Families
Carers Trust has written Commissioning Services for Young Carers and their Families which aims to support the commissioning of services for this vulnerable group in line with the principles of the new legislation coming into effect in 2015 and the Government’s National Strategy for Carers.
- brings together into one place key facts about young carers
- informs commissioners of the needs of young carers and their families and the importance of listening to the voices of young carers when developing services
- draws together many practical examples of how services are currently supporting young carers and what has been found to be effective in supporting this vulnerable group
- emphasises the importance of both a ‘whole family’ and ‘preventative’ approach
- suggests outcomes to aim for and tools for measuring the effectiveness of interventions.