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Guidance

Young Carer Assessment Tools

Local authorities must offer an assessment where it appears that a child is involved in providing care. Here are some examples of assessment tools that could form part of an overall whole family approach to assessment.
Area of Care: 
Primary CareSecondary Care
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Information and adviceCommissioning for young carersEducation
I work with: 
Young adult carersYoung carersSibling carersFamilies
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Monday, September 28, 2015 - 09:00
Body: 
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. Local authorities must offer an assessment where it appears that a child is involved in providing care. Here are some examples of assessment tools that could make up a part of an overall whole family approach to assessment. This guidance has been compiled by Carers Trust and The Children's Society as part of the Making a step change: Putting it into practice programme.

MACA YC-18: Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities

The MACA is a questionnaire to be completed by young carers that can be used as an indicator of the total amount of caring activity undertaken by a child or young person, as well as six subscale scores for: 
  1. Domestic tasks
  2. Household management
  3. Personal care
  4. Emotional care
  5. Sibling care
  6. Financial/practical care.

PANOC YC-20: Positive and Negative Outcomes of Caring 

The Positive and Negative Outcomes of Caring (PANOC-YC20) is a questionnaire to be completed by young carers that can be used to provide an index (or score) of the subjective cognitive and emotional impact of caring in young people.

Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The CAF is a nationally standardised approach to conducting an assessment of the needs of a child or young person and deciding how those needs should be met. The CAF will promote more effective, earlier identification of children’s additional needs and improve multi-agency working. It is intended to provide a simple, non-bureaucratic process for a holistic assessment of a child’s needs, taking account of the individual, family and community.
More information on the CAF can be found in the PDF iconCAF Simplified Assessment Workstream

Outcomes Star 

Outcomes StarThe Outcomes Star™ both measures and supports progress towards self-reliance or other goals on multiple key areas such as health, caring role, relationships, feelings and behaviours, education and learning, etc. Different versions of the Star include the Carers Star, My Star and the Family Star. Each star is used to capture the voice of the young carer and their family, their needs, and their perspective on the changes they are experiencing.

My Life Now Wheel

My Life Now WheelMy Life Now is an individual Assessment and Planning Tool for Young Carers. The tools include both an in depth and quick assessment wheel and a framework for setting goals.

 

 

The YCRG screening tool (YC-QST-20)

The questions in the Screening Tool have been cognitively tested in the DfE national study of young carers (with young carers themselves) and in YCRG research over many years. The tool and explanatory model are also currently being used in other countries (Japan, US) to help both researchers and practitioners identify young carers and their needs.

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PDF icon Manual for Measures of Caring Activities and Outcomes For Children and Young People 2nd EditionPDF icon CAF - Simplified Assessment Workstream
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Good Practice

Improving Health Outcomes for Older and Young Adult Carers

In 2011 Carers Trust was selected by People’s Health Trust to coordinate the delivery of health related projects managed by carers centres, Crossroad Care schemes and young carers services across England, Scotland and Wales.
Area of Care: 
Mental HealthPhysical illness
Outcomes: 
Wellbeing
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 14:00
Body: 

An Evaluation of the Improving Health Outcomes Programme 

As part of its Healthy Places, Healthy People funding programme, carers centres and schemes in locations pre-determined by People’s Health Trust were invited to submit project proposals detailing how they would spend funding to develop effective services to improve health outcomes for either older carers (those aged 60 plus) or young adult carers (aged 16–24) from socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

Graphic from report

Programme aim

The overarching aim of the programme was to improve the physical health and emotional wellbeing of carers across England, Scotland and Wales.

For older carer projects, Network Partners’ aims were divided into two categories, with Network Partners opting for either category:

  • Increase the opportunities for older carers to access activities aimed at improving health outcomes.
  • Increase the ability of older carers to access breaks from their caring role and improve the emotional, physical and/or financial health of older carers.

For all young adult carers projects, the specific aims were:

  • Improve the life chances of young adult carers.
  • Increase access to and/or develop support structures to enable young adult carers to move from appropriate children’s services to adult services.
  • Increase the support available for young adult carers to make informed choices about their own physical and mental health.

31 Network Partners were awarded funding in 30 geographical areas. 23 Network Partners planned to work on developing services for older carers, and eight Network Partners aimed to work with young adult carers. The grant available for each area was £40,000 for 12 months during 2012–13.

Evaluation

The evaluation of the programme concentrated on the project design and the impacts created for the beneficiaries supported by the projects. It also looked at the wider impact of the grant funding on the Network Partners, in particular exploring how grant funding can be used to address five wider issues that Network Partners are facing:

  • strategic
  • demand
  • asset
  • preventative and
  • carer-led challenges.

Download the PDF iconimproving health outcomes - impact report.

Improving the Health of Carers: A Casebook of Projects front coverImproving the Health of Carers:
A Casebook of Projects

This report takes an in-depth look at nine projects funded through the Improving Health Outcomes programme.

The report highlights the practical lessons from these projects about how to set up and deliver local support, and what to consider in the separate stages of work.

Download the PDF iconimproving health outcomes - casebook.

Older Carers Voices and Stories: The Personal Impact of Funding

This report aims to bring together older carers’ thoughts and feelings about dedicated services and activities delivered by Carers Trust Network Partners under the Improving Health Outcomes programme and the positive impact it has had on their lives.

Older Carers Voices and Stories: The Personal Impact of Funding front cover

Opinions have been gathered from 39 older carers who attended six focus groups held with Network Partners at Redbridge Carers Support Service, Derbyshire Carers Association, Helensburgh and Lomond Carers, Hillingdon Carers, North Argyll Carers Centre and Carer Support Wiltshire.

Older carer’s personal views about targeted services and activities, which would not have existed without the financial support of People’s Health Trust, are combined with five real life case studies. These provide a taste of the challenges older carers have to face on a daily basis and how just a little funding and support can have a significant and often life changing impact on carers’ health and wellbeing.

Download PDF iconimproving health outcomes - older carers voices and stories.

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PDF icon Improving Health Outcomes - Impact ReportPDF icon Improving Health Outcomes - Impact Report (Summary)
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Good Practice

Practice Examples: Tailoring support for young carers

Whilst young carers will have many shared experiences, each young person’s caring role and its impact on them will be unique. Some services respond to this by providing particular support focused on groups or individual young carers.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carersSibling carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Examples of tailoring support for young carers

Whilst young carers will have many shared experiences, each young person’s caring role and its impact on them will be unique. Caring for people with different conditions, at different points in their illness, in different environments and for different family members will bring its own challenges, opportunities and experiences. Some services respond to this by providing particular support focused on groups or individual young carers.

PDF iconSupport for young carers looking after someone with a palliative care diagnosis

FRESH (run by St Michael’s Hospice in Herefordshire) works to improve the life chances of young carers during the time of palliative care diagnosis and bereavement through a multi-disciplinary team based at the hospice.

PDF iconTargeted interventions for asylum seeking-and refugee young carers and their families

CareFree offers one-to-one support, respite groups, advocacy and other services to young carers and their parents from asylum seeking, refugee or newly arrived families living in Leicester.

PDF iconPartnership working for young carers in military families working for young carers

A partnership that works to improve the identification and understanding of the needs of young carers from military families and provides tailored support to their needs.

PDF iconWorkshop for young carers looking after their siblings

The workshops provide support and information to help young carers understand their brother's or sister's conditions.

PDF iconTiered support service for young carers 

Salford Young Carers Service operates on a three tier system. Young carers are assessed upon referral and then initially placed in band one with the intention of reducing their level of caring and their need for support. Intensive support is given to a young carer at the beginning, which then decreases as they move though the tiers.

Support and advocacy for young adult carers

The Suffolk Family Carers Transition Project provides support and advocacy services to young adult carers as they make decisions about their future and begin to access Adult Services.

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Guidance

Examples of Practice: Supporting young carers in families who may experience stigma

There are many hidden young carers in communities due to a lack of understanding and identification.
Area of Care: 
Alcohol MisuseSubstance Misuse
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carersFamilies
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Young carers often remain hidden in their communities, not getting the support they need. There are many reasons young carers go unidentified including a lack of public understanding about who young carers are and young carers themselves not realising that their lives are different from other children’s.

However, one of the main reasons young carers slip through the net is because their parents do not have an obvious condition - so people do not realise young people are caring or think they need any help. This situation can be made worse if the condition itself is stigmatised and a young carer or their family is reluctant or fearful of seeking help.

Support

Young carers and their families who may be more likely to experience stigma can benefit from different types of support.  

PDF iconOut of hours family support for young carers living with a substance misusing adult

The project aims to provide a range of emotional and practical support to families in order to improve outcomes for young carers, the substance misusing adults they care for and the wider family.

PDF iconSupporting families affected by drug and alcohol misuse

This initiative brings together knowledge, skills and experience from the adults and children’s sector to deliver a whole family approach that looks at how substance misuse effects the whole family.

PDF iconSupporting young carers from families affected by HIV

An initiative that works closely with families affected by HIV, faith and community leaders, schools, local social services and GPs to provide all round support for young carers.

Examples of practice

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Good Practice

Practice Examples: Individual payments to support young carers

Small payment to young carers can help them stay mentally and physically well.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Carers servicesSocial careEducation
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Practice examples: Individual payments to support young carers 

Small payments to young carers can contribute to an overall package of support, helping young carers to stay mentally and physically well. Items purchased such as laptops can reduce social isolation and gym membership can improve personal health and fitness.

These payments are used to help relieve any negative impact of caring and improve the outcomes of the child as part of a wider package of support.

PDF iconYoung Carer Early Intervention Payments delivered by trusted assessors

An Early Intervention Payment for individual young carers to pay for a range of personalised items to enjoy a life beyond caring acts as a support mechanism to mitigate the impacts of caring responsibilities on children and young people.

PDF iconSupport fund to help young carers stay mentally and physically well

A young carers support fund in Oxfordshire, where individual payments can be given to relieve the negative impact of caring and to improve health outcomes for young carers.

Examples of practice

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Practice Examples: Communicating with young carers

Young carers are more likely to understand and respond to information that is targeted to them and reflects the communication channels they are use.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Monday, November 10, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Young carers are more likely to understand and respond to information that is targeted to them and reflects the communication channels they are use. Texts, social media and age appropriate leaflets and materials will better enable young carers to access and engage with the support and services available to them.

Practice examples

The project gives rucksacks filled with age-appropriate workbooks and information on mental health, stickers and toys, to children and young people who have relatives in contact with mental health services due to severe or enduring mental health problems.

Norfolk Carers Handbook is a free and complete reference guide for young carers and adult carers that raises awareness of caring issues and promotes a range of statutory and voluntary services and support available to carers.

Connecting Young Carers gives support and information for young carers via text messages and Facebook. Young carers can chat with and ask for help from the Connecting Young Carers Participation Worker by texting and using the message and chat functions on Facebook.

Examples of practice

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Practice Examples: Young Carers shaping policy and services

Getting young carers and families involved in planning and commissioning services can lead to better outcomes.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Carers servicesCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Involving young carers and families in planning, designing and commissioning services is more likely to lead to effective delivery with better outcomes.  Young carers know what would make their lives better and are the experts when it comes to their needs and their caring roles.  Involving young carers can also provide insight that commissioners might not get by any other means as well as highlighting any gaps in service provision.

Here are some practice examples of how young carers are shaping policy and delivery.

PDF iconYoung carers involvement in a local authority commissioning process

Norfolk County Council ensure that young carers inform the commissioning process through consultation on the service specification and supported involvement in the evaluation of tenders.

Young carers forum to influence activities and services

VOICE YC – which stands for Views, Opinions, Ideas and Choice for Every Young Carer – is the young carers’ forum for Bromley. It provides a place for young carers to discuss issues that are important to them and to influence policy and decisions that affect young people in Bromley.

PDF iconYoung-carer led and age appropriate respite for young carers

The Young Carers Service provides respite breaks and activities for young carers, but with young carers right at the heart of decision making, from choosing what activities they do to educating professionals about young carers’ needs.

Young carer delivering training to partner organisations

A former young carer is employed by Blackpool Carers’ Centre as an ambassador to raise awareness of young carers locally and nationally.

Examples of practice

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Practice examples: Supporting young carers in education

If left unsupported, excessive or inappropriate caring roles can seriously affect a child’s future wellbeing, educational achievement and aspirations.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Carers servicesEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Monday, November 10, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

If left unsupported, excessive or inappropriate caring roles can seriously affect a child’s future wellbeing, educational achievement and aspirations. Young carers are often caring for relatives without their teachers’ knowledge. Schools are vitally important to ensuring that young carers are identified early and gain access to appropriate support.

Practice examples

Here are some examples of how schools and young carers’ services are identifying and supporting young carers.

The project supports schools to identify a Young Carers Lead, introduce a young carers' policy and develop support for young carers.

The self exploration groups for young carers in secondary school facilitate pupils who are young carers to support each other and access appropriate outside support. The groups form part of a structured approach to identify and raise awareness of young carers in schools.

The initiative collected data on the attainment and school attendance of young carers. This analysis formed part of a wider mapping of young carers by the local authority, carried out in order to better understand the needs of young carers in Oxfordshire.

The Award Scheme assesses schools and colleges against a set standards for support provided to pupils/students who are young carers. The standards, developed in consultation with young carers, aim to ensure that young carers are identified, their needs are individually addressed, relevant provision is put in place and the impact evaluated.

The Schools and Support Coordinator runs staff training, school assemblies, ‘exploration’ groups, drop-in groups and other activities to identify and support young carers in secondary schools across Winchester.

A mentoring scheme for young carers to raise their awareness of higher education opportunities and aspirations of moving into higher education.

Compass is a sustained contact programme for young carers in Year 10 and Year 11 with the aim of raising educational aspiration and attainment.

Through a range of engaging activities, participants build their confidence, recognise their skills and increase their familiarity with the culture of higher education, in addition to enjoying new experiences outside of the normal routine of their caring roles.

Examples of practice

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Practice Examples: Activities and breaks for young carers

Young carers need time away from their caring role. Breaks and activities can help young carers build confidence.
Area of Care: 
Primary Care
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Carers servicesEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

Many young carers value time away from their caring role to socialise with friends and do things that other children their age do. Activities and breaks can also help to build a young carers confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle. Many young carer services offer support groups, respite activities and day trips. Here are a couple of examples of activities for young carers.

Activities for young carers with special educational needs or disabilities

The Time Out Project offers a provision for young carers with special educational needs and disabilities who need time to be themselves. The project supports these young carers within bespoke Saturday Clubs. These clubs provide weekly sessional activities and an established built in programme and also combines trips, events and outings within the local community

Summer activities for young carers

Newry and Mourne’s Young Carers Summer Scheme provides activities that give young carers a chance to get out of the house and socialise with others.

PDF iconResidential confidence course for young carers

BOOST is a self-esteem and confidence building course for young carers who are part of the Suffolk Young Carers project. It is designed to give young carers respite from caring while enhancing their personal development and boosting their self-esteem so they feel more confident about themselves and being a young carer.

PDF iconA free bus pass for young carers

Young people living in Kent in school years 7–11 can travel by bus throughout Kent at any time with a Kent Freedom Pass. For young carers linked to a young carers’ service this pass is free and eligibility is extended to year 13.

Examples of practice

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Key Info

Supporting Young Carers and their Families: Examples of Practice

The Department for Education funded Carers Trust between 2010 and 2012 to build a collection of practice examples to support those who commission or develop services.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carersSibling carersFamilies
Caring for: 
AdultsOlder adultsYoung peopleChildren
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 09:30
Body: 

The Department for Education funded Carers Trust between 2010 and 2012 to build a collection of practice examples to support those who commission or develop services.

Use these examples to think about how to deliver creative and effective services for young carers and their families.

Each practice example covers the aims and objectives of the initiative, how it was funded and delivered, what was particularly effective and any challenges. Every example provides tips to get you started and contact details if you would like more information on that particular project.

Examples of practice

We have grouped the examples of practice into themes to guide your search:

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