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Young carers

A young carer is someone aged 18 or under whose life is affected by caring for at least one family member, over and above just 'helping out'. Young carers might look after:

  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Close relatives
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Children and young people help to care for a parent or other relative, for different reasons and in different ways. These might include because of a:

  • Disability
  • Illness
  • Mental health problem
  • Drug and alcohol related issues

Young carers can provide practical and emotional support such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, personal care and medication, and simply being there for company and love.

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Young carers can find that caring for someone takes up a lot of their time; it can sometimes be very difficult for them to cope with everything - even when they want to and are happy to.
If you:

  • Think a child or young person is at risk of significant harm
  • Are caring for someone who you think is being abused
  • Are caring for someone who is sometimes aggressive towards you
  • Feel under great strain or stress and are becoming worried that you may hurt the person you care for

Then contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108. If you need help in the evenings or weekends contact the Emergency Duty Service on 0300 456 0100. If there is immediate danger, or someone is injured, phone 999. You can also speak to someone you trust such as your family, a teacher, a doctor or an organisation that supports you. If nothing happens after this then it is important that you tell someone different. 

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Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally tough. Children and young people may skip school sometimes to try and fit everything in and might worry a lot about things at home. Young carers can sometimes forget to look after themselves. It can be hard for friends and teachers to understand exactly what they do each day and why they need to do it. It can be hard to find time to go out with friends or do homework. Lots of young carers also tell us that being a carer can be very rewarding. 

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Wiltshire Council Families and Children’s Service carries out assessments of young people who care for someone else. An assessment is when an adult who works for the council gets to know the young person and the things they are dealing with to see if they need some help. 

The first part of the assessment process is for an adult to complete a Digital Assessment and Referral Tool (DART) for the young person, or a Single Assessment Referral Form (SARF) if they do not have access to DART.  Staff in the Families and Children’s Service will then arrange to come and see the young person if that is felt to be the right thing for them. The assessment will show what type of support is needed. Children and young people who can have an assessment from Wiltshire Council will:

  • Spend a large amount of time outside of school caring for a relative
  • Live in Wiltshire
  • Be under 18 years

Wiltshire Council works with an organisation called Carer Support Wiltshire to provide breaks for young carers when the assessment shows this will be helpful. The council and Carer Support Wiltshire work together to make sure that the right breaks are offered to the right children at the right time.

Useful information can also be found at the council's On Your Mind website which helps young people to look after their own emotional wellbeing. It is important to let people at school know about the caring that a young person does so that they can understand and help.

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Carer Support Wiltshire is the organisation that raises awareness of, and supports, carers of all ages in Wiltshire. Once an assessment has been completed for a young carer, then they may be referred to Carer Support Wiltshire to take part in activities that will give them a break from their caring role. Staff who have carried out the assessment will talk to the young carer about these activities.
Activities are designed to give young carers:

  • A break
  • A chance to have fun and meet other young carers
  • A chance to learn new skills

Carers moving towards the age of 18 may also request a ‘transition assessment’ from Wiltshire Council which will be carried out by Carer Support Wiltshire. This assessment looks at what support may be needed when they turn 18 years and beyond. 

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Last updated: 29 August 2018 | Last reviewed: 29 August 2018