Young Carers are children and young people under the age of 18, who provide care to another family member usually an adult, who has a physical illness/disability; mental ill health; sensory disability; has problematic use of drugs or alcohol.North West Quality Protects
The level of care they provide would usually be undertaken by an adult and as a result of this has a significant impact on their normal childhood.
It is estimated that there are at least 1190 young carers in Bolton (not including those caring for relatives with mental health difficulties/ substance misuse). National data tells us the average age of a young carer is 12 and they provide care for an average of 17 hours a week – some care for up to seven hours a day. Many young carers care for four years before they receive any support. Taking on a caring role can have effects on the young persons life chances for example :
- 25% of young carers miss school or experience educational difficulties
- 77% of young carers reported being bullied in the last 12 months.
- at least 30% of young carers are caring for a parent with mental health difficulties
- 40% of former young carers said their mental health had been directly affected by caring – emotional traumas, depression, low self esteem
In Bolton we want to identify any young person taking on care of a family member and support them through two dedicated services these are:
Bolton Lads and Girls Club will...
- facilitate access to mainstream services for young carers
- co-ordinate services where lead professional is needed or add to an existing lead professional’s planning arrangements
- deliver direct support to young carers (eg resilience work, advocacy support, arts work, emergency planning)
- ensure young carers can access breaks from caring, including those which can be facilitated by extended family members
- raise awareness to enable professionals to identify young carers and listen to what they need
- mobilise other services to meet the needs of the young carers and their families
- provide consultation for professionals working with children and young people who are young carers
- influence local and national service delivery and strategic planning
All aimed at reducing the impact of caring for the young carer.
For more information about the support available, how to make a referral and contact details, take a look at the Bolton Lads and Girls Club website.