Guidance to support schools and colleges at a time when young carers become a 'legal entity' for the first time.
The Children and Families Act, introduced in April 2015, includes measures to support young carers. This new legalisation places responsibilities on schools and colleges, outlined in section 5.
"Young people take for granted. Children must be allowed to thrive and enjoy their childhoods, not be relied upon to take caring roles that are too often inappropriate." (The Children's Society)
Early identification and support for young carers is crucial if we are to avoid the potential negative impact that caring can have on their lives; affecting their education, future chances of employment and economic success. The Children's Society has reported that there are over 800,000 young carers (aged 5-17) across the UK in 2021.
Tackling the problems young carers face is not only good for vulnerable young people and their families – it could also be good for schools and colleges; reducing unexplained absence, improving behaviour and the setting’s performance.
Schools and colleges can contribute by:
- identifying young carers in their school community
- working alongside other agencies to provide access to assessment and relevant services
- developing whole school or college policies and working practices in their setting that promote health and wellbeing, child development, educational achievement and transition into adulthood of young carers.
The Carers Strategy guide sets out the priorities that will shape the delivery of support for carers across health and wellbeing services.
Carers Trust has useful resources to download including a 'Supporting young carers in schools toolkit'.
Derbyshire Young Carers Service provides support to young carers across the county. The Local Authority's statutory young carers services are provided by Derbyshire Carers Association. Following a referral, a young carer will receive a family assessment and then be given access to one-to-one support, groups and activities. Free support is also available for schools, through training, awareness raising and guidance with supporting young carers, and increasing the number of young carers identified by schools. The Young Adult Carer Service supports carers aged 18 - 25 with the transition to Adult Carer Services.
Information about your rights as a young carer can be found on the NHS website.
Please contact Derbyshire Carers Association for further information - email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01773 833 833.