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Young carers need support so they can achieve their dreams

Release Date: 13 Jun 2017

Barnardo’s is calling for young carers to be given much more support so they do not miss out on life chances and can achieve their dreams.

During Carers’ Week (12-18 June) the charity is highlighting the situation faced by more than 195,000 children across the UK who sacrifice their childhoods to take care of a loved one at home.

There are potentially thousands more young carers who are not known about and are therefore slipping through the net and left to cope alone.

Professionals who come into contact with children - whether that’s teachers, GPs or social workers – need to be on the lookout for signs that they are taking on caring responsibilities and must report concerns to their local authority so children can be offered an assessment for support.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

Much more work needs to be done by the authorities to identify and understand a young carer’s daily reality and do what they can to make life easier for them.

This must include taking steps to reduce the amount of caring young people undertake, particularly when it has a negative impact on their lives.

They should also ensure these children are put at the heart of all policies on young carers but also that a whole family approach is undertaken by local authorities.

Unsurprisingly, many young carers are deeply affected by their role and struggle to juggle their home and school life.

More than half of young carers’ parents say their children have missed school as a result of their extra caring responsibilities, according to government figures.

Research also shows young carers are more likely to experience mental health issues and have trouble making friends at school.

Many of them struggle to achieve qualifications they are capable of and young adult carers aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely as their peers to not be in education, employment or training.

These dedicated youngsters include 12-year-old Hollie. She cares for her mum, Claire, who has physical disabilities that affect her mobility and cause constant pain which has led to depression.  

Claire struggles to leave the first floor flat in Leicestershire where they live and, as a result, both are very socially isolated.

Hollie helps her mum with housework, particularly the heavier things that need doing. She also assists her in and out of the bath and supports her emotionally when she’s feeling low.   

Hollie also helps her mum remember information at medical appointments, assists her on public transport and with getting in and out of their flat.

Barnardo’s is helping the family move in to more suitable accommodation,  has sourced grants to enable Claire and Hollie to have quality time out together and paid for Hollie to go to a dance club.

Barnardo’s

Last year 248,000 children, young people and families were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 996 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you.

Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605

Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews


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