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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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Good Practice

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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Good Practice

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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Good Practice

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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Guidance

Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Young Carers – examples of practice

Being a young carer can often have a severe, significant and long-lasting impact on a young person’s health and wellbeing.
Area of Care: 
Mental Health
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingHealth inequalitiesCarer awareness
I work in: 
Health careMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial careEducation
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 10:15
Body: 

Assessing the health needs of young carers

The initiative aims to undertake comprehensive health assessments of children and young people targeted by the young carers’ service in Oxford City. It supports collaborative working between health, social care and education and ensures a more coordinated pathway of care.

Young carer-led and age-appropriate respite for young carers

PDF iconThe 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.

Other examples of practice

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PDF icon young carer led and age appropriate respite for young carers
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Guidance

Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Young Carers

Being a young carer can often have a severe, significant and long-lasting impact on a young person’s health and wellbeing. It is therefore essential that services consider how they will support young carers with regards to their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Area of Care: 
Mental Health
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingHealth inequalitiesCarer awareness
I work in: 
Health careMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial careEducation
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 17:00
Body: 

Impact of caring

Caring responsibilities can be difficult and stressful at any age. Taking on the physical and emotional demands of supporting a family member or friend with a long term sickness, disability, mental ill health or addiction is a lot for young minds to deal with.

For many young people, particularly those who go unidentified, caring can lead to a significant and long term negative impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Young carers often talk about feeling tired and under pressure. Many experience traumatic life changes such as bereavement, family break-up, losing income or housing, and seeing the effects of an illness or addiction on the person they care for. All these things alongside the pressures of school or college and the social isolation experienced by many, can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. PDF iconResearch by Carers Trust and the University of Nottingham found that almost a third of young carers surveyed (29%), reported that their own physical health was ‘just OK’, and 38% reported having a mental health problem.

Young carers’ physical health may also suffer. Financial pressures, time pressures, exhaustion as a result of interrupted sleep, physical injuries from repeatedly having to support or move someone with poor mobility.

The health of young carers may be affected for a variety of reasons and might not be addressed if their health appointments are missed, not prioritised or there is a distrust of health services. The 2011 census found that young carers providing between 20 and 49 hours are over 3 times more likely to report their health as not good compared to other children without caring responsibilities.

Assessment, support and services

It is vital that young carers are identified early and that an assessment of their needs includes an assessment of their health and wellbeing.

School nurses are ideally placed to support in the early identification of young carers and ensure that they receive timely, age-appropriate information, by spotting and addressing any emerging health needs. By ensuring that young carers are accessing appropriate health services and other support, school nurses can help reduce the negative impact on the health and wellbeing of young carers.

An annual health and wellbeing needs assessment could be employed to ensure a young carers own health is maintained and to check that young carers are registered and able to access their GP, dentist or optician. In Oxfordshire for example, one initiative aims to undertake comprehensive health assessments by a school nurse of young carers.

The PDF iconManual for Measures of Caring Activities and Outcomes is being increasingly used by young carers’ services across the UK and abroad. It contains a range of tools relevant for assessment and evaluation work with young carers and assesses the impact of caring on a young carer.

Emotional support

Dedicated support for young carers can help to protect the health and wellbeing of young carers. Young carers often say that having someone to talk to, to share their concerns with such as a young carers’ support worker, is hugely important.

Young carers also often say that peer support online or within a young carers’ service for example, where they can relax, be themselves and take part in activities is vital. For others, dedicated emotional support from specialist services may be appropriate.

Respite activities and sports are also important for young carers. Providing opportunities where young carers can simply be young people and have fun, will help reduce social isolation and protect their health and wellbeing.

Examples of practice

Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Young Carers – examples of practice

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PDF icon Manual for Measures of Caring Activities and Outcomes
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Guidance

Support for young carers and their families

Targeted support for young carers and families formed part of the vision of the National Strategy for Carers. The value of dedicated support for young carers cannot be underestimated.
Area of Care: 
Specialist services
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carersFamilies
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 16:15
Body: 

Young carers and families have consistently stated how they value targeted support which recognises and understands their distinct needs.

Not all young carers will wish to access targeted support and for many mainstream or universal activities will meet their needs. Strong links between both targeted and universal support services will mean that young carers have support that meets their needs and circumstances and ensure that any issues are identified early. 

Young carers services - what do they offer?

Young carer’s services deliver a wide range of interventions in their local area including the provision of clubs, respite activities and one-to-one support. Some services will also offer befriending or mentoring schemes, skills programmes, smaller groups where young carers with similar caring roles can support each other and specific support programmes.

Providing transport to activities is a big part of a young carers’ service as few families have transport of their own.

Online support for young carers

Online support is a great alternative to a physical support group which can particularly meet the needs of hidden young carers who are unable to access local services or who do not wish to do so.

It may not provide all the benefits of a physical support group where young carers can meet peers in similar circumstances, however for young adult carers particularly and young carers from rural locations, it can reduce the isolation experienced by young people, provides information and connects them with others and other services when appropriate.

Supporting the health and wellbeing of young carers 

Dedicated support for young carers can help to protect the health and wellbeing of young carers. Young carers often say that having someone to talk to, to share their concerns with such as a young carers’ support worker, is hugely important.

Young carers also often say that peer support online or within a young carers’ service for example, where they can relax, be themselves and take part in activities is vital. For others, dedicated emotional support from specialist services may be appropriate.

Respite activities and sports are also important for young carers. Providing opportunities where young carers can simply be young people and have fun, will help reduce social isolation and protect their health and wellbeing.

Find out more about protecting the health and wellbeing of young carers.

Further information

Support for young carers and their families – supporting the family

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Guidance

Support for young carers and their families – supporting the family

A whole family approach to supporting young carers and their families can significantly help to reduce inappropriate caring roles.
Area of Care: 
Specialist services
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carersFamilies
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 10:15
Body: 

A whole family approach to supporting young carers and their families can significantly help to reduce inappropriate caring roles.

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.

Respite for family members

Both young carers and their families value the opportunity of trips and activities for the whole family. These provide shared family experiences and support and strengthen family relationships.

A range of family support for young carers of substance misusing adults

The PDF iconproject supports families affected by substance abuse by providing one-to-one support to young carers and parents and a range of group activities for both adults and children.

Partners in identification and support of young carers

Supporting young carers in education 

Schools are vital and ideally positioned to play a collaborative role in identifying young carers and initiating support for young carers and their families. Children are often caring for relatives without their teachers’ knowledge, yet if unidentified and unsupported, their caring roles can seriously affect their educational outcomes and aspirations.

Supporting young carers in youth services 

Mainstream youth services can play an important role in supporting young carers. Not all young carers will wish to access a dedicated young carers service, preferring mainstream universal services instead. 

For some young carers mainstream activities best meet their needs and reduce the social isolation of a caring role. Accreditation schemes often run by youth services are a good way of supporting some young carers at risk of becoming NEET.

Supporting young adult carers into further education and employment 

It is common for young adult carers to face barriers in relation to further learning and employment. Targeted support for young adult carers to address these specific barriers is therefore important to prevent them from becoming NEET and to help them transition smoothly and reach their full potential.

Practice examples

Protecting the Health and Wellbeing of Young Carers – examples of practice

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PDF icon Family support for young carers of substance misusing adults
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