Virtual School and Equalities Learning Team - Young Carers
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Cumbria Young Carers Strategy
This strategy aims to bring together a wide range of agencies and organisations across the county in order to maximise the support offered to Young Carers. The strategy will link to the Children and Young People’s Plan.
Schools and Young Carers
The National Carers Strategy recognises that schools have a vital role to play in identifying and supporting Young Carers. Young Carers are at risk of social isolation and bullying, under-achievement, absenteeism from school, and physical and mental ill health. Their caring role may mean that they need extra support.
The following signs could indicate that a pupil is a Young Carer (DfE archive)
- Young carers can fall behind at school and miss days or even weeks
- They may leave school with few or no qualifications
- They may take out their frustrations or anger at school
- They may experience bullying because they are seen as isolated or different
- Fellow pupils may make fun of them or of their family's problems
- They may find it difficult to have a normal social life, or be isolated from peers
- They may be afraid of talking to professionals about the family's problems, ashamed of their situation, protective of their parents, or worried about splitting the family up
- They may feel angry, upset, hurt, worried, anxious or uncertain, leading to emotional problems and stress
- They may suffer physical problems such as back injuries from heavy lifting, or tiredness and lack of sleep
- They may experience traumatic life changes such as bereavement, family break up, lost income or the illness and addiction of their loved ones
- They are more likely to experience poverty or social exclusion
- They may be disadvantaged in the labour market when they leave school
We are proud of the children and young people who are carers in Cumbria, and know how much they value their caring roles.
The latest Census 2011 released in May 2013 revealed that there were 432,250 Young people with caring responsibilities in England and Wales, in the 2001 Census there was an estimated 175,000 Young Carers therefore the number of young people with caring responsibilities has increased by approximately 150%. We should also take into account that these latest figures may not recognise young people who may care for an adult with mental health issues or substance misuse difficulties.
In Cumbria it is estimated that there are approximately 3,378 Young Carers in the County. 800 of these children are known to Young Carer Organisations who are commissioned on behalf of Cumbria County Council to provide services to young carers.
We want to ensure that young carers are identified and supported, and are not taking on inappropriate levels of care, whether the care needs arise from ill health, disability, mental health needs or substance misuse. We know that if care-giving becomes excessive there can be risks to the emotional or physical well being or educational achievement and life chances for the young carer.