26.26 Young Carers
A young carer is a young person under the age of eighteen who has a responsibility for caring on a regular basis for a relative (or very occasionally a friend) who has an illness or disability. This can be primary or secondary caring and leads to a variety of losses for the young carer.
Many young carers experience:
- Low level of school attendance;
- Some educational difficulties;
- Social isolation;
- Conflict between loyalty to their family and their wish to have their own needs met.
All agencies in contact with young carers should consider if they are in need of support services in their own right.
Assessments for young carers are required on the appearance of need (of the young carer) or at the request of the young carer or their parent and must be undertaken in line with the “The Young Carers (Needs Assessments) Regulations 2015”.
A young carers needs assessment is undertaken by the Surrey Children’s Service team responsible for the assessment of the child or young person the young carer is looking after. This will normally be undertaken as part of the Children and Families Assessment which should take account as appropriate, of the needs of the whole family.
Where the young carer is caring for an adult, the appropriate Children’s Assessment Team will be responsible for the young carer’s assessment, and for decisions regarding service provision for that young person, subject to eligibility criteria. The adult being cared for should have their details shared with Adult Social Care to ensure that the appropriate assessments have been completed.
The extent and effect of the child’s caring responsibilities may satisfy the criteria for Children in Need (particularly where a child is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development because of their caring responsibilities). Consideration should be given to a referral to Surrey Young Carers Service with the consent of the young person and or parents as appropriate.
If any agency is concerned that the young carer is at serious risk of neglect, abuse or harm, this must be referred to Surrey Children's Services (see Contacts and Referrals Procedure) and if appropriate a Strategy Meeting should be arranged.
If possible, the young carers consent should be sought through a discussion of why the referral must be made and the possible outcomes. In those situations where the child does not give consent, but it is still considered necessary to initiate a Section 47 Enquiry, s/he should be kept informed of all decisions made, and offered support throughout.