Strategic Lead & Equality Officer for Young Carers
The term “Young Carer” should be taken to include young people aged between 5 to 18 years of age, who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses drugs / alcohol
We are proud of the children and young people who are carers in Cumbria. In Cumbria it is estimated that there are approximately 3,378 Young Carers across the County. 897 of these children are known to Children’s Service. All of these young people are supported in their caring role and have an individual support plan that is tailor made to meet their needs. We must also be mindful that these figures may not recognise young people who may care for an adult with mental health issues or substance misuse difficulties.
Children’s Service Virtual School have published a Memorandum of Understanding between Children’s and Health Care Services. This MOU provides a clear direction to services that they should adapt a “whole family” approach in order to support young carers and their families. The guidance reflects current national policy and is intended to promote working together between Children’s Services, Health and Care Services and offers an enhanced basis for working in partnership with Health , Education and Third Sector parties
Ofsted’s Schools Inspection Handbook framework states: “Inspection is primarily about evaluating how well individual pupils benefit from their school. It is important to test the school’s response to individual needs by observing how well it helps all pupils to make progress and fulfil their potential.” It includes young carers as those with protected characteristics whose achievements it may be relevant to pay particular attention to. (Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook,September 2014, No 120101)
“We believe that all children and young people should have equal access to education, regardless of what is happening at home and that no child should have to take on inappropriate or excessive caring responsibilities”
Research shows that young carers often fare less well than their peers in education, may be subject to bullying , suffer isolation and more likely to experience poverty. It is recognised that schools can offer significant support to young cares. A Model School Policy is available for Schools and we would urge all Schools to have a Young Carers Policy in place with a named designated person in school