Young Carers

A young carer is someone under 18 who cares for another person.  A young carer might look after someone because they're sick, or have a disability, or mental health issues, or drug or alcohol misuse issues. A young carer's life can be demanding. They have to balance their caring responsibilities with school work, sports, friends, looking after themselves and pursuing their dreams. 

A young carer might look after someone because they're sick, or have a disability or mental health issues. Or, if a parent or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, they may be unable to care for themselves or anyone else.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014, there is a duty on the Local Authority, working with partners to actively identify young carers and ensure they receive the support they need. To do this, it is essential for agencies and professionals across the partnership to be aware of and able to identify young carers.

800,000

The number of children aged    5-17 who care for an adult or family member in the UK

68%

The proportion of young carers who report having been bullied because of their caring responsibilites

30 hours

The increase in weekly hours caring since the start of the coronavirus pandemic for 10% of young carers

Source: Children's Society, 2020

Source: Young Minds, 2020

Source: Carers Trust, 2020

How to identify a possible young carer

Children and young people may not feel able to talk about the challenges they face if they care for a loved one. They may feel guilty or even worried about the consequences of speaking up difficulties. Below are some of the signs that may suggest a child or young person is struggling to cope:

  • Withdrawing into themselves and becoming anxious or frustrated

  • Sudden changes in concentration or educational performance

  • Changes in attendance patterns (possibly linked to fear of leaving an unwell parent), school refusal, being late

  • Other behaviour changes – particularly longer-term challenging behaviour

  • A change in how organised and ready for school they are

  • Physical health problems

  • Frequent unexplained angry outbursts

  • Being tired (possibly due to anxiety or being woken by unwell parents).

How to get help for a young carer

If you have identified that a child or young person may be a young carer, they may need extra support to ensure their caring responsibilities are not impacting negatively on their education and wellbeing. Please refer the child or young person to Lambeth Children's Social Care (details below) so that their, and their family's, needs can be assessed and they can be supported. 

Resources & Support

Make a referral for support

Contact Lambeth's Integrated Referral Hub on 020 7926 5555 and follow up with a completed Multi-agency Referral Form.

Local Support for Young Carers

From school holiday activities, homework club, peer support, first aid training and legal advice, the Lambeth Young Carers service works directly with carers from age five upwards to provide them with guidance and support. 

Resources for Professionals

Visit the Children's Society website for guidance, advice and resources to help you support young carers.  

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© 2021 Lambeth Safeguarding Children Partnership