Wellbeing

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Educational

Anti Bullying Resource – Being Me

Bullying can be a big issue for young carers and can have a major impact on their self-confidence and self-esteem. "Being Me" will equip teachers to work with pupils to tackle bullying in a fresh way.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeing
I work in: 
Education
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 13:45
Body: 

Carers Trust has teamed up with national anti-bullying charity Kidscape, as well as Diversity Role Models, Potential Plus UK and The National Autistic Society - charities representing children who are at the end of an unacceptable level of bullying in Britain's schools today, to develop Being Me.

Better understanding

Being Me is a series of resources designed to give children across the UK an insight into the life of their classmate, and a better understanding of what it is like to be them.

Originally designed for National Anti-Bullying Week's drive to stop bullying and to celebrate difference, this new unique school resource includes a specific section on young carers. 

Download resources

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PDF icon Being me - supporting young carers in your class
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Guidance

Young Carers and Parental Mental ill-Health – examples of good practice

Around a third of young carers care for someone with a mental health condition. Many young people who care for someone with a mental health problem go identified and unsupported. View examples of good practice on this page.
Area of Care: 
Mental Health
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial care
I work with: 
Young carers
Caring for: 
Adults
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 16:30
Body: 

Whole-family support for young carers affected by parental mental ill health

This PDF iconpartnership improves systems and practice within inpatient mental health services and community mental health teams, which then promotes mental health professionals to enquire about patients’ children and family situations and improves information sharing between all the professionals who work with these families. The project ensures that no child or young person takes on the majority of care for an adult once they are discharged from mental health services.

Young Carers website

Information about mental illness and support at www.youngcarers.net includes a film by a young carer who cares for her father with severe depression. The young carer explains how she copes with the responsibility of running the household and helping her father to stay positive.

MyCare project

The PDF iconMycare project from 2010 explored the needs of young people who care for a parent with severe mental illness.

Other examples of good practice for young carers affected by parental mental ill health

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Guidance

Young Carers and Parental Mental ill-Health

Around a third of young carers care for someone with a mental health condition. Many young people who care for someone with a mental health problem go identified and unsupported. Identifying these young carers may be more difficult because the illness is less visible.
Area of Care: 
Mental Health
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesSocial care
I work with: 
Young carers
Caring for: 
Adults
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 16:30
Body: 

Mental ill-health

Not all children whose family members have mental ill-health will experience difficulties or be young carers.

Barriers to identification

Because mental illness is not always visible and many mental health conditions fluctuate nature, young carers often care unidentified and unsupported.

Mental ill-health is still often misunderstood and individuals and families can still experience stigma associated with it. As a result young carers caring for a parent or other family member with a mental health condition may be more reluctant to tell anyone about it. Identification may also be impeded by parents not wishing to involve services because of fear of stigmatisation.

Unique experiences

Whilst young carers will have many shared experiences, young people caring for someone with a mental illness may experience additional difficulties.

Young carers may find it hard to understand the illness and may not have someone to explain it to them in an age-appropriate way. Others may be embarrassed about their parent’s illness, bullied because of it, or scared by its unpredictable nature.

Providing emotional support to a parent at risk of harming themselves or committing suicide, or dealing with the aftermath of these actions and the intermittent and unpredictable needs of individuals with mental health difficulties can be extremely distressing.     

Because of the stigma associated with mental illness children and young people may conceal their caring role from their peers or choose not to take friends home for fear of being bullied or socially isolated.

Support

Fear of stigmatisation and fear of a services intervention can act as barriers to identification and young carers receiving support. Services and support must recognise these particular issues faced by these young people and gain the trust of families and young people in order to encourage openness and engagement.

Dual diagnosis

Some parents may have a mental health condition and also be affected by substance or alcohol misuse. It is important to maintain effective links between all agencies involved to provide extra support should they need it.

Further information

Young Carers and Parental Mental ill-Health – examples of good practice

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Guidance

New rights for young carers in England

The Children and Families Act and Care Act 2014, which come into force in April 2015, significantly strengthens the rights of young carers.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 14:30
Body: 

The Children and Families Act and Care Act 2014, which come into force in April 2015, significantly strengthens the rights of young carers.

Currently under law, a young carer is entitled to an assessment of their needs, however assessments have to be requested and young carers have to be providing or intending to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis. This approach was not preventative and meant that young carers and their families had to be aware of their services and rights and ask for support.

Proposed changes

Through the changes proposed in the Children and Families Act:

  • All young carers under the age of 18 have a right to an assessment regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it.
  • A young carer has the right to an assessment based on the appearance of need – which means that young carers will no longer have to request an assessment or be undertaking a ‘regular and substantial’ amount of care. An assessment also can be requested.

The proposed changes in the Care Act reinforce these new rights by requiring that local authorities:

  • Must take a whole family approach to assessing and supporting adults so that young carer’s needs are identified when undertaking an adult or adult carer’s needs assessment
  • Should ensure that adult’s and children’s social services work together to ensure assessments are effective.

This means when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family are to be considered.  This should trigger action from both children’s and adults services – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children from taking on this responsibility in the first place.

Briefings

Carers Trust has produced a PDF iconbriefing on the Children and Families Act and its key provisions for young carers, young adult carers and their families. You can also read an PDF iconoverview of the rights for young carers and young adult carers and their families in both the Care Act and the Children and Families Act.

Downloads: 
PDF icon briefing on the changes in law
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Guidance

Policy and legislation in Scotland

The law relating to carers differs across the UK. The Scottish Parliament has responsibility for health, the NHS and social care, so most of the legislation which affects carers in Scotland is discussed in the Scottish Parliament.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Carers servicesCarers involvementInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersSocial careCommissioning
Caring for: 
Adults
Location: 
Scotland
Date Revised: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 11:15
Body: 

The law for carers in Scotland

The law relating to carers differs across the UK. The Scottish Parliament has responsibility for health, the NHS and social care, so most of the legislation which affects carers in Scotland is discussed in the Scottish Parliament. The Equality Act 2010, laws around flexible working for carers, and legislation relating to benefits for carers is UK-wide and so is also applicable to carers in Scotland.

There is also a specific piece of legislation for carers introduced in early 2015. The Carers (Scotland) Bill will consolidate existing rights from other pieces of legislation as well as enshrining new rights for carers in law. Like all Scottish legislation it will go through a three-stage process, allowing for debate and discussion in committees, evidence to be gathered and amendments to be made. This allows opportunities for the Bill to be further strengthened and we will be working closely with the Scottish Government, MSPs and other decision-makers, carers and Network Partners to make sure the Bill can make a real difference for carers and carers’ services.

Key legislation

A strategy for carers

Scotland has a Carers’ Strategy. Caring Together: The Carers Strategy for Scotland 2010-2015 is a framework for policy and legislation development in Scotland and has driven the development of a range of projects and initiatives that aim to improve the lives of Scotland’s carers, ensure that organisations and services are able to support carers and recognise them as equal partners in care, and support carers to have a life outside of caring and to care with confidence. 

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Carers Rights Charter

As set out in the Carers’ Strategy, Carers Scotland and the Minority Ethnic Carers Project (MECOPP) have been commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a Carers Rights Charter. Consultation on the Charter took place in 2013 with carers and carers’ organisations, and the final Charter of Rights will be launched in conjunction with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in 2014.

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Self-directed support

Legislation on Self-directed support (SDS) was passed in 2012. The Social Care (Self-directed support) (Scotland) Act 2013 ensures that all individuals and families who receive social care support (including carers) have choice and control over how this support is delivered, by being offered different options on how they take the support.

Carers can help the person they look after to manage these support options, or if carers are receiving a support service in their own right, they are also entitled to options when getting support.

Carers Trust Scotland has produced a guide for carers on SDS. The Scottish Government’s SDS website also gives more detailed information on SDS options, how SDS works in practice, and examples and case studies of SDS users. 

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Integration of health and social care

The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act came into force in 2014 and legislates for health boards and local authorities to integrate budgets and services and to ensure that health and social care provision across Scotland is joined-up and seamless, especially for people with long term conditions and disabilities and their carers.

The legislation and the regulations and guidance that accompany it support the arrangements for integrating health and social care, in order to improve outcomes for patients, service users, carers and their families. This will enable health boards and local authorities to work together effectively to deliver quality, sustainable care services.

Carers and service users are supported to be involved and make decisions about services in their areas, with consultation required when integration schemes are being developed, when strategic plans are being developed and reviewed, and at any other time when a decision might significantly affect the provision of services in an area. 

Since the consultation stage of the Act, we have been calling for carers and service users to be involved in a supported and meaningful way so that their participation is as valuable as possible.

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A Carers’ Bill for Scotland

In October 2013, at the second Carers’ Parliament, Alex Salmond announced the Scottish Government’s intention to legislate for carers before the Scottish General Election in 2016.

A consultation on the proposals for a Carers’ Bill ran from January 2014 to April 2014 and examined the possibilities to introduce further duties for statutory bodies, and new rights and entitlements for unpaid carers.

All aspects of the carer journey were consulted on, from identification and assessment through to service provision, carer involvement and service review. Young carers were also explicitly included in these legislative proposals.

The Carers (Scotland) Bill was launched on 9 March 2015 and will consolidate existing rights from other pieces of legislation as well as enshrining new rights for carers in law. Like all Scottish legislation it will go through a three-stage process, allowing for debate and discussion in committees, evidence to be gathered and amendments to be made. This allows opportunities for the Bill to be further strengthened and we will be working closely with the Scottish Government, MSPs and other decision-makers, carers and Network Partners to make sure the Bill can make a real difference for carers and carers’ services.

The Bill sets out a range of measures to improve identification and support to carers, including the introduction of a new duty on local authorities to support carers who meet certain eligibility criteria.. This is a big change from the current system where local authorities have a power to support carers if they choose to.

Carers Trust Scotland has produced a PDF iconbriefing on the Carers (Scotland) Bill, and a summary specifically looking at its PDF iconprovisions for young carers.

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Charging

Regulations that are part of the Social Care (Self-directed support) (Scotland) Act 2013 prevent carers from being charged for social care services that they have been assessed as needing to be provided to them in order to support them to provide care. This includes (but is not limited to)

  • the provision of information and advice
  • advocacy for carers and young carers
  • emotional support and counselling
  • training for carers and young carers
  • support with housework or gardening or other similar activity
  • cost of taxi fares and driving lessons in special circumstances
  • short breaks
  • translation and interpretation services.

Carers assessment

Most services are provided following the identification of need through a Carer’s Assessment. If the carer is not eligible for a Carer’s Assessment, because he or she does not carry out a substantial amount of care on a regular basis, then local authorities have the discretion to provide support to the carer without an assessment having been carried out. Charges should also be waived in this situation. 

There are some limitations to waiving of charges around short breaks, driving lessons and taxi fares, and household tasks. The briefing below goes into greater detail about these limitations and the impact on carers who are receiving these kinds of services and support.

This right of carers not to be charged for support applies to services provided to both adult carers and to young carers for services provided under the Social Care (Self-directed support) (Scotland) Act 2013 and under S22 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Carers Trust Scotland, along with the other national carer organisations, has produced an easy-read briefing about PDF iconwaiving of charges for carers who are receiving self-directed support.

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Downloads: 
PDF icon Waiving of charges for carers - summaryPDF icon Carers (Scotland) Bill - briefing
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Key Info

What rights do young adult carers have in England?

Young adult carers are transitioning from childhood into adulthood. There is no legal age definition for young adult carers, although Carers Trust’s support work focuses on young adults aged between 14 and 25.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carersCarers in employment
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young adult carers
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:15
Body: 

Young adult carers are transitioning from childhood into adulthood. There is no legal age definition for young adult carers, although Carers Trust’s support work focuses on young adults aged between 14 and 25. This means that young adult carers have rights as children, as adults and as young adult carers planning for adulthood.

What new rights do young adult carers have when planning for adulthood?

The Care Act 2014, which comes into force in April 2015, significantly strengthens the rights of young adult carers as they move into adulthood.

The draft regulations and guidance, which have been out for public consultation, propose strong support arrangements for young adult carers as they prepare for adulthood regardless of what support they already receive.  The final regulations and guidance will be published in October 2014 and may be altered.

Guidance on supporting young adult carers include that:

  • Local authorities should consider how to identify children who are not receiving children’s services, including developing mechanisms with local education providers and health services.
  • Local authorities must carry out a transition assessment if a young carer may have needs for care or support when they turn 18. These assessments can also be requested.
  • Transition assessments and planning should consider how to support young carers to prepare for adulthood and raise and fulfil their aspirations, including key milestones for achieving their outcomes. For example, where a young person or carer wishes to attend a higher or further education institution, local authorities should help them identify a suitable institution as part of transition planning.
  • Local authorities must cooperate with relevant partners, including GP practices, housing and educational providers and this duty is reciprocal.

See the Department of Health website for more information on the regulations and guidance.

Find out more about the government’s National Strategy for Carers.

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Guidance

What rights do young carers have?

Brief details of rights that young carers are entitled to, taken from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

As a child a young carer has the right to: 

  • a childhood
  • have an education
  • be healthy
  • be heard, listened to and believed
  • be protected from physical and psychological harm
  • be consulted and fully involved in discussions which affect their lives.
  • have privacy and respect.

Further detail can be found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A young carer has a particular right to:

  • request an assessment to see what help and support they and their family need
  • choose the amount of care they receive
  • be protected from excessive or inappropriate caring that impacts on their health and wellbeing
  • information and advice.
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Key Info

Young Carers Assessments in England

Young carers have a right to an assessment of their needs separate from the needs of the person they care for. Assessments must be requested and young carers have to be providing or intending to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingIntegrationCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
England
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

What rights do young carers currently have to assessment?

Young carers have a right to an assessment of their needs separate from the needs of the person they care for (Carers Recognition and Services Act 1995 and Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004).

Assessments must be requested and young carers have to be providing or intending to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis.

Where appropriate, young carers are also entitled to assessment as a child in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Proposed new rights to assessment

Proposed new rights to assessment from April 2015 (Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014) include:

  • All young carers under the age of 18 will have a right to an assessment regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it.
  • A young carer has the right to an assessment based on the appearance of need – which means that young carers will no longer have to request an assessment or be undertaking a ‘regular and substantial’ amount of care.
  • An assessment can still be requested but should also be offered.
  • Local authorities must take a whole family approach to assessing and supporting adults so that young carer’s needs are identified when undertaking an adult or adult carer’s needs assessment.

Local authorities should ensure that adult’s and children’s social services work together to ensure assessments are effective. 

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Key Info

Who are young carers?

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHospitalsMental health careHealth and wellbeingCarers servicesCarers involvementCarers breaksInformation and adviceCommissioning for carersCommissioning for young carersEmploymentSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young adult carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:45
Body: 

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.

The tasks and level of caring undertaken by young carers can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole.

A young carer may undertake some or all of the following:

  • practical tasks such as cooking, housework, shopping
  • physical care such as lifting, helping up the stairs and physiotherapy
  • personal Care such as dressing, washing and helping someone go to the toilet
  • emotional support such as listening, calming someone and being present
  • household management such as paying the bills, managing finances and collecting benefits
  • looking after siblings such as putting to be and walking to school
  • interpreting for parents with hearing or speech impediments or English as an additional language
  • Administering medication such as insulin needles and preparing daily tablets.

How many young carers are there in the UK?

The 2011 census identifies over 200,000 young carers in the UK, but research by the BBC in 2010 indicates that there are as many as 700,000 young carers living in the UK.

Hidden carers

Carers remain hidden for many reasons including:

  • they do not realise that they are a carer or that their life is different to their peers
  • their parent’s do not realise that their children are carers
  • they worry that the family will be split up and taken into care
  • they don’t want to be any different from their peers
  • their parent’s condition is not obvious so people don’t think that they need any help
  • there has been no opportunity to share their story
  • They see no reason or positive actions occurring as a result of telling their story.

Why do young carers need your support?

Young carers often go unnoticed in their communities, but the negative impacts of caring on young people can be very real and enduring. If left unsupported young carers can take on responsibilities that will have a lasting effect on their health and wellbeing, friendships and life opportunities.

Many young carers experience issues with their:

  • physical health: often severely affected by caring through the night, repeatedly lifting a heavy adult, poor diet and lack of sleep
  • emotional wellbeing: stress, tiredness and mental ill-health are common for young carers
  • isolation: feeling different or isolated from their peers and with limited social opportunities
  • Lack of a stable environment: traumatic life changes such as bereavement, family break-up, losing income and housing, or seeing the effects of an illness or addiction.

The wider impacts of these effects can be felt on a young carer in their education, employment and their health and wellbeing.

Find out more

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Educational

The role of school nurses in supporting young carers

School nurses play an important role in identifying school aged young carers both in and out of education. Public health nurses can play an important role in identifying and supporting families where there may be a child or young person caring or who could become a carer.
Area of Care: 
Physical illnessPrimary Care
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health carePrimary careHealth and wellbeingEducation
I work with: 
Young carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 10:00
Body: 

The school nurse can play a key role in identifying young carers at an early stage, protecting their health and wellbeing and ensuring that they and their families are linked into and receiving further support from other services that they may need.

Supported by Carers Trust, several of its Network Partners and young adult carers involved in the Time to Be Heard campaign, the Department of Health have developed several strands of work for young carers:

Supporting the health and wellbeing of young carers

The Pathway Supporting the health and wellbeing of young carers is designed to support integrated working between the school nursing service, other public health nurses and partners in supporting young carers and their families. It sets out the rationale for effective partnership working recognising the need to offer support within a school and community context.

The pathway provides a model for a coordinated approach between school nursing, education, local authorities and young carers’ services, to ensure early identification of health and wellbeing needs and the provision of primary healthcare services to young carers and their families.

Young Carer School Nurse Champions

To complement the Pathway, school nurses across England are being trained to become Young Carer School Nurse Champions to give them a strong understanding of the pressures young carers face and how to ensure they receive the care they need.

On completion of the training, school nurses receive the Champion badge which will clearly identify to young carers those school nurses who have undergone training. To strengthen their role, a PDF iconSchool nurse champions charter has also been developed that sets out key messages and specific roles of a School Nurse Champion.

Work is also underway with the Department of Health to link up young carers’ services with their local school nurse.

School nurses community

Visit the Royal College of Nursing's School nurses' community website, that includes information about young carers in schools and "Meet the School Nurse Carer Champions".

Royal College of Nursing online learning resource

RCN Learning has a resource which aims to help school nurses and their teams to support young carers. It may also be of interest to children’s community nurses and health visitors.

Downloads: 
PDF icon School Nurse Champions Charter
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