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Fact sheet

Supporting Young Carers and their Families: Examples of Practice

The National Carers Strategy stated its vision that: ‘Children and young people will be protected from inappropriate caring and have the support they need to learn, develop and thrive and to enjoy positive childhoods.’

This strand of the Department for Education funded project aims to support all those who commission or develop services for young carers and their families and help the sector achieve the four priorities stated in the 2010 Carers Strategy Refresh (Recognised, Valued and Supported: Next Steps for the Carers Strategy (Department of Health, 2010).

Carers Trust has drawn together a collection of case studies showcasing a diverse range of new, innovative and established practice that is taking place across the UK to support young carers and their families.

Aimed at commissioners and all those responsible for developing services for young carers and their families, these examples of practice have been chosen to inform and inspire the sector to continue to develop and deliver creative and effective services that bring
about positive outcomes locally.

A selection of these practice examples, as well as additional examples for adult carers, can be viewed on the Carers Trust website: www.carershub.org

Further practice examples will be added here over the course of the project.

To receive email updates on when further examples of practice/case studies are uploaded onto this website or to provide feedback on any of the examples, please email practiceexamples@carers.org

Acknowledgements

Carers Trust would like to thank all those individuals and services who have kindly contributed their time to support this project.

The practice examples/case studies below are organised into themes which will develop and be added to as the project progresses.

Young carers talking: Young carers’ views on what helps them

  • Young carers talking:Young carers’ views on what helps them (1.5 MB)
    This REPORT is a part of the Building the Practice. Building the Evidence programme and presents the voice of young carers on the issues that matter to them. With the aim of informing the development future practice, the REPORT presents the opinions of young carers on a selection of the examples of practice and wider themes that have implications for the development of young carer support. Emergent themes include; identity; school; whole family working; working with professionals; availability and accessibility; specialist services and young carer involvement.

Young carers shaping policy and services

  • Young carers forum to influence activities and services
    VOICE YC – which stands for Views, Opinions, Ideas and Choice for Every Young Carer – is the young carers’ forum for Bromley. It provides a place for young carers to discuss issues that are important to them and to influence policy and decisions that affect young people in Bromley.

Partnerships

  • A Family CAF (fCAF)for young carers and their families (578 KB)
    Birmingham City Council is pioneering a holistic Family CAF (fCAF) process for adults and children that has been modeled on the standard Common Assessment Framework. This provides the basis of a coordinated approach and tailored support plan from a range of agencies, to meet the needs of the whole family.

Whole family support

  • Whole-family support for young carers affected by parental mental ill health (557 KB)
    The partnership improves systems and practice within inpatient mental health services and community mental health teams, which then promotes mental health professionals to enquire about patients’ children and family situations and improves information sharing between all the professionals who work with these families. The project ensures that no child or young person takes on the majority of care for an adult once they are discharged from mental health services.
  • Using a whole family assessment (321 KB)
    A whole family assessment is initially carried out in order to embed a whole family approach to supporting families. The results of this assessment then inform an intervention plan that is developed and agreed upon by the family.
  • Support programme for parents of young carers
    The Triple P System is an evidence-based parenting programme founded on over 30 years of clinical and empirical research. Winchester and District Young Carers uses the model to work with the parents of young carers in order to create improvements in their family lives.
  • Coordinated meetings to help families write their own care plans
    Barnardo’s in Bolton coordinates meetings Family Group Conferences (FGC’s) which aim to bring together everyone who is involved with a young carer, enabling the family to decide what support they need and to make plans that reduce the young person’s caring role.
  • Out of hours support for young carers and their families
    The Out of Hours project aims to provide a holistic package of support for young carers and their families at times that suit them, which may be outside the existing 9–5 service. Young carers and their families are offered one-to-one support, signposting, advocacy and fun activities for the whole family.

Information

  • Age-appropriate about mental health for young carers (683 KB)
    The project gives rucksacks filled with age-appropriate workbooks and information on mental health, stickers and toys, to children and young people who have relatives in contact with mental health services due to severe or enduring mental health problems.

Supporting rural young carers

  • Communicating with young carers via text and Facebook (599 KB)
    Connecting Young Carers gives support and information for young carers via text messages and Facebook. Young carers can chat with and ask for help from the Connecting Young Carers Participation Worker by texting and using the message and chat functions on Facebook.

Activities and breaks

  • Activities for young carers with special educational needs or disabilities
    The Time Out Project offers a provision for young carers with special educational needs and disabilities who need time to be themselves. The project supports these young carers within bespoke Saturday Clubs. These clubs provide weekly sessional activities and an established built in programme and also combines trips, events and outings within the local community.
  • Summer activities for young carers
    Newry and Mourne’s Young Carers Summer Scheme provides activities that give young carers a chance to get out of the house and socialise with others.

Education

  • Widening participation in higher education for young carers (424 KB)
    Compass is a sustained contact programme for young carers in Year 10 and Year 11 with the aim of raising educational aspiration and attainment. Through a range of engaging activities, participants build their confidence, recognise their skills and increase their familiarity with the culture of higher education, in addition to enjoying new experiences outside of the normal routine of their caring roles.
  • An award scheme for schools and colleges
    The Award Scheme assesses schools and colleges against a set standards for support provided to pupils/students who are young carers. The standards, developed in consultation with young carers, aim to ensure that young carers are identified, their needs are individually addressed, relevant provision is put in place and the impact evaluated.
  • Working with secondary schools to support young carers
    The Schools and Support Coordinator runs staff training, school assemblies, ‘exploration’ groups, drop-in groups and other activities to identify and support young carers in secondary schools across Winchester.

Emotional support and counselling

  • Online support for young carers
    The website acts as a virtual youth club where young carers can come together, relax, chat and access support and advice from workers and each other.

Emergency planning and support

Using a child-friendly booklet designed with and for young cares, called "Safe, Sorted and Supported," the project encourages young carers and their families to plan ahead in case of crisis or emergencies.

Structured programmes for young carers

  • Residential confidence building course for young carers (383 KB)
    BOOST is a self-esteem and confidence building course for young carers who are part of the Suffolk Young Carers project. It is designed to give young carers respite from caring while enhancing their personal development and boosting their self-esteem so they feel more confident about themselves and being a young carer.

Financial support and personalisation

Hard to reach groups

Young adult carers

Other

  • A free bus pass for young carers (307 KB)
    Young people living in Kent in school years 7–11 can travel by bus throughout Kent at any time with a Kent Freedom Pass. For young carers linked to a young carers’ service this pass is free and eligibility is extended to year 13.
  • Tiered support service for young carers (557 KB)
    Salford Young Carers Service operates on a three tier system. Young carers are assessed upon referral and then initially placed in band one with the intention of reducing their level of caring and their need for support. Intensive support is given to a young carer at the beginning, which then decreases as they move though the tiers.

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