What is a Young Carer?
A young carer is a person under 18 who provides, or intends to provide, care for another person who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition, or addiction problem.
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.
Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult.
These can include:
- Physical care: such as lifting or helping someone use the stairs.
- Practical tasks: such as cooking, housework, shopping.
- Personal care such as dressing, helping with toileting needs, washing.
- Emotional support such as listening, calming, being present.
- Household management such as managing resources, collecting benefits, paying bills.
- Looking after siblings such as putting to bed, walking to school, parenting
- Medication management such as collecting prescriptions, preparing daily medication, administering medication
- Helping someone communicate such as helping someone who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has other communication needs
At Holly Park Mrs Thomas is the lead member of staff for Young Carers, supported by Mrs Puzey and the Pastoral Team.
Please speak to a member if you think your child, or a child you know, may need this type of support, or contact Barnet Young Carers on 020 8343 9698 or www.barnetcarers.org/youngcarers/
Here are some examples of young carers:
Jane is ten years old and lives at home with her dad who has alcohol issues. Jane takes on a lot of responsibility at home and the two of them have become isolated from other family members and their local community. Jane constantly worries about her dad and had started to find herself becoming more and more anxious about her life and in particular her upcoming move to a new school. However, after being referred to her local Young Carers centre she was able to attend a series of workshops, which helped young carers to think about who they are, manage their feelings, and to look at their aspirations. She was able to speak about her feelings which helped her enormously. She was also thrilled to meet other young carers of the same age some of whom are already at her new school. They have been helping Jane feel a bit less worried about the next big step in her life.
Marlon is five and is an infant carer. He lives alone with his mum who has heart problems and low blood pressure. He helps his mum with her personal and emotional care as well as doing regular household cleaning, washing up, helping with cooking and carrying heavy shopping bags. He worries a lot about his mum’s health and sits with her to keep her company and make sure she is okay. Two years ago, after his Grandmother had died, Marlon and his mum had gradually become more and more isolated. Marlon didn’t talk much or play with other children and had been wetting his bed. His school noticed something was up and after chatting with his mum, referred him for carers support from his local carers service. Now he is getting help with his poor health and is coming to terms with the loss of his grandmother. He takes part in monthly clubs and school holiday trips. He and his mum have also had some family support including bereavement counselling and a family short break.