Who is a young carer?
A young carer is a child or young person aged between 5 to 25 years old whose life is in some way different or restricted because they provide, or intend to provide, practical or emotional support to someone else.
What's it like to be a young carer?
The person they provide care for is often a parent, or a relative who is physically or mentally ill, frail elderly, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances. Young carers could also be supporting and caring for a disabled brother or sister.
Being a young carer can mean that sometimes it can be difficult managing all the things they feel they have to do and all the things they would like to do. This can affect young people in different ways.
Sometimes a young carer may struggle to keep up with their school work, or not feel able to join in after school activities alongside their peers.
They can feel tired and sometimes stressed and worried about the person they care for, as they fear that something might happen to them when they are not close by to keep an eye on them or directly caring for them.
It is not surprising that they can get distracted and this makes it all the more difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and homework.
Also, young carers may forget to look after themselves or feel that they are not properly looked after, such as not having a balanced diet, not eating regularly or sleeping properly or getting enough exercise.
Young Carers Needs Assessment
The Children and Families Act 2014 states that young carers have a legal right to a Young Carers Needs assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to identify individual needs for each young person and how their caring role impacts on their health and wellbeing. Suffolk County Council commission Suffolk Family Carers to carry these out on their behalf.
If you feel you would like an assessment of your needs, please contact Suffolk Family Carers on: 01473 835477 or you can request one through their website.
Support for young carers in Suffolk
Suffolk Family Carers, Young Carers Service commissioned by Suffolk County Council to provide support services for young carers.
This includes offering young carers the opportunity to:
- meet other young carers
- to gain information and guidance on different aspects of their life to support and improve wellbeing
- engage in social activities to give them a break from their caring responsibilities
- receive emotional support
Other support available for young carers and their families can be found on the Local Offer website.