Good Practice

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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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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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Whole family approach - practice examples

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 think about how to deliver creative and effective services locally.
Area of Care: 
Mental HealthAlcohol MisuseSubstance Misuse
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingCarer awarenessIdentifying carers
I work in: 
Health careCarers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Families
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 10:15
Body: 

Whole family support

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 think about how to deliver creative and effective services locally.

Examples of whole family working

  • Whole family support for at risk families and young carers
    The PDF iconThink Family Project delivers sustained, intensive work with targeted young carers and their families over a period of around 12 months. The work is personalised to each family and addresses the needs of young carers as well as the wider needs of the family through parenting and relationship work, family activities and advocacy.

  • A one-stop holistic service for young carers and their families experiencing multiple challenges 
    Tailored, multi-agency PDF iconsupport to the families of young carers experieincing multiple challenges and who are most at risk of harmful or excessive caring.

  • Using a whole family assessment
    A PDF iconwhole family assessment is initially carried out in order to embed a whole family approach to supporting families. The results of this assessment then inform an intervention plan that is developed and agreed upon by the family.

  • Coordinated meetings to help families write their own care plans
    Barnardo’s in Bolton coordinates meetings Family Group Conferences which aim to bring together everyone who is involved with a young carer, enabling the family to decide what support they need and to make plans that reduce the young person’s caring role.

  • Out of hours support family work
    The Out of Hours project aims to provide a holistic package of support for young carers and their families at times that suit them, which may be outside the existing 9–5 service. Young carers and their families are offered one-to-one support, signposting, advocacy and fun activities for the whole family.

  • Support programme for parents of young carers
    The Triple P System is an evidence-based parenting programme founded on over 30 years of clinical and empirical research. Winchester and District Young Carers uses the model to work with the parents of young carers in order to create improvements in their family lives.

  • Whole family involvement in young carer crisis plans
    Using a child-friendly booklet designed with and for young carers, called "Safe, Sorted and Supported," the PDF iconproject encourages young carers and their families to plan ahead in case of crisis or emergencies.

Mental health problems or addiction

Below are some examples of targeted whole family approaches for families where mental health problems or addiction is present.

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What you can do to support young adult carers at college

Here are some examples of what you can do to support young adult carers at college.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carersCarers in employment
I work in: 
Carers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young adult carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 15:15
Body: 

Identify young adult carers in your institution

By identifying the numbers of young adult carers in your institution you will be able to commission services to meet their needs. Carers Trust recommends adding a field to college application forms to identify as early whether the student has a caring role. By taking this step you will be able to proactively engage and support young adult carers from the moment they start at the institution.

Raise awareness of carers and caring among students

Some young adult carers may not realise that they are in a caring role as caring is something that they have always done. It is important to raise awareness of caring amongst students and offer support if they come forward to disclose their caring status.

Carers Trust recommends that you publicise who young adult carers are and the services available to support them as much as possible in the school. Even a poster can make a difference to a young adult carers life.

Raise awareness of carers among staff

Ensure that all staff members are aware of what a young adult carer is, the challenges they may face and available solutions. Research has shown that 75% of respondents informed college or university staff of their caring role but almost half 45% said no one recognised them as a carer and helped them.

Some of the signs that someone may be a young adult carer include:

  • being late for classes
  • handing in homework/ coursework late or incomplete
  • difficulty concentrating
  • high levels of absence
  • drops in grades
  • Low confidence.

If you suspect that a student may be a carer, take some time to talk to them and offer support to work through their issues so they can achieve the best grades possible whilst at college.

Engage with the local carers services

Most areas will have a local carers service nearby where students can access support. You can find them by looking at the carers services map or via your local authorities’ web page or advice line.

Carers services will be able to advise you on the appropriate steps to take if a student discloses that they are a carer.

Carers Services may be interested in working with colleges to raise awareness so see if anyone would be available at your local service. Give them a call to see what they can offer you.

What is already being done to support young adult carers at college

There is growing recognition that young adult carers need better support at college. Two significant pieces of research of carers at university are PDF iconYoung adult carers experiences at college and university published by Carers Trust and PDF iconLearning with Care published by the National Union of Students (NUS). These show examples of good practice and have recommendations on how colleges can better support young adult carers.

Carers Trust is currently working with a group of colleges to produce a toolkit so universities can better support young adult carers. The toolkit will be available in early 2015. Keep checking the website for more details.

Carers Trust in partnership with NUS and The University of Nottingham held an event over two days in June 2014. 200 young adult carers, support workers and decision makers came together to discuss how young adult carers could be better supported to access college.

Downloads: 
PDF icon Young adult carers at college and universityPDF icon Learning with Care NUS research report
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Young adult carers and college

College is an important step for young people to access both the workplace and higher education.
Outcomes: 
PreventionWellbeingHealth inequalitiesCarer awarenessIdentifying carersCarers in employment
I work in: 
Carers servicesSocial careEducationCommissioning
I work with: 
Young adult carers
Location: 
Whole UK
Date Revised: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 15:15
Body: 

Why should colleges support young adult carers?

College is an important step for young people to access both the workplace and higher education. Historically, young adult carers have struggled to access college due to their grades in school and their caring role – young adult carers aged 16-18 are twice as likely to be not in education, employment, or training (NEET) than their peers.

There are carers in every institution although many are likely to be hidden. Recent research revealed that of the young adult carers who informed their college, 45% felt there was no one to help them (Sempik, Becker 2013). This discourages young adult carers from coming forward as they see ‘no point’ in telling anyone.

Mental ill-health

The pressure that academic study, paid work and caring puts on young adult carers is reflected in the high rates of mental ill health reported to Carers Trust. 45% of those surveyed reported a mental health problem – almost twice the national average.

The result of this is that, without the right support, young adult carers can struggle to do as well as their peers at college. A recent survey by the National Union of Students showed that only 36% of student carers felt able to balance their commitments, compared with 53% of students without caring responsibilities. This can have a negative impact on their life opportunities and the forming of their own identity and independence.

Young adult carers experiences of college

Harriet was caring for her dad (she now cares for mum) when she was 16/17 and at college. She was a lone carer – her mum and dad split up when she was 13 and her dad developed a drink problem.

At school Harriet had a sympathetic teacher who knew about her home life and gave her the right support. She got very good results at GSCE with 15 A and A* grades.

She went onto Sixth Form College and because of her academic excellence, they wanted her to take seven AS levels and didn’t want her to drop any. As Harriet says, “this would have been difficult for anyone, let alone someone running a house and caring for a parent.”

Struggling

As a result of the pressure Harriet struggled. She asked for more support from the college which was given and then withdrawn when she had to miss sessions because of her caring responsibilities. She also had some counselling sessions but she didn’t find them practically helpful.

Due to the lack of support at college and the situation at home, Harriet was diagnosed with depression and failed all of her exams.

Harriet decided to leave the college and discovered there was no record of her being a carer or being diagnosed with depression on her records, despite her saying so many times.

Harriet has now left education and is being supported to secure an apprenticeship by her local carers service.

Downloads: 
PDF icon Learning with Care NUS research reportPDF icon Young adult carers at college and university
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