Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. The tasks undertaken can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole. Some young carers may undertake high levels of care, whereas for others it may be frequent low levels of care. Either can impact heavily on a child or young person.
A young carer may do some or all of the following:
- Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping.
- Physical care, such as lifting, helping a parent on stairs or with physiotherapy.
- Personal care, such as dressing, washing, helping with toileting needs.
- Managing the family budget, collecting benefits and prescriptions.
- Administering medication.
- Looking after or “parenting” younger siblings.
- Emotional support.
- Interpreting, due to a hearing or speech impairment or because English is not the family’s first language.
Why it matters
Young carers may experience:
- Feeling lonely (missing out on friendships, feeling frightened and isolated, scared to tell anyone about their home circumstances).
- Feeling excluded (bullied and stigmatised, difficulty getting to school on time. struggle to get involved in their community).
- Feel overwhelmed (tired, worried and stressed, ashamed and guilty, high levels of responsibility with little support).
- Struggling with schoolwork (finding it hard to concentrate, keep their temper, do homework, think about their future, eg education and employment).
What to do
Get in touch with Barnardo's Lancashire Young Carers Service: please see below for details and a link to the referral form. As a young carer, you can refer yourself to the service.
Questions for professionals
- Do we always ask children about their carer status?
- Are we clear about our legal responsibilities?
- Are we clear that this is a safeguarding issue?
- Do we question less when children provide care which is convenient to us?
For more information follow the link to the LSCB 7 Minute Briefing (see Downloads box on the right).
Barnardo's Lancashire Young Carers Service
We accept referrals from all organisations, services, schools, training providers, health, social care, police, etc and also self or family referrals. Referral Forms can be obtained by visiting Barnardo's Lancashire Young Carers web page or by contacting us on the number below to receive the form via email or by Royal Mail (as a paper document). The Referral Form may also be photocopied to duplicate it. The Lancashire Young Carers leaflet (see the web page) gives further information on the service.
1 Dorothy Avenue
Tel: 01772 641002
Young Adult Carers
Carers aged 16 to 25 years old can also access a range of specialist support from Carers Link Lancashire.