A Young Carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps to look after a relative. This may be due to them having an illness, a disability, a mental health concern or a drug or alcohol problem.
Young carers may look after a parent or provide care for another family member like a grandparent or sibling. This could include some personal care but also cooking, cleaning and other jobs around the house as well as emotional support.
Some children and young people have provided care for a family member for a number of years so do not appreciate they are a young carer. For others it is a more sudden change in their home circumstances.
It is important that Young carers have some choice in what and how much care they provide. It is important to ensure they still get the same opportunities to attend school, complete homework and enjoy time socialising with their friends or family.
NHS England & NHS Improvement have produced a short animation “Out of the Woods” which has been developed with Young Carers to provide further insight and raise awareness of the needs of Young Carers.
To ensure that Young Carers receive the additional support they require, it is important that they are identified. Once identified a young carer will then be entitled to a Needs Assessment by the Local Authority.
This needs assessment will explore the impact of their caring role on their own health, education, and social life. The assessment can be requested by contacting Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020.
Young Carers in Norfolk have been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. They may have found themselves taking on more responsibilities and not being able to access support as easily. Young Carers have told us that they have found themselves in emergency situations related to their caring role and not known what to do.
This new emergency planning template has been developed to help young carers plan ahead for emergency situations that might happen and think about how they might manage them, or who they might ask for help.
How We Can Help?
Norfolk Healthy Child Programme is committed to identifying and supporting young carers. We were awarded with the carer friendly tick award in February 2020. As part of this an agreement was drawn up with young carers.
We recognise that Young Carers may require support for a range of issues so please explore our website and refer to specific pages on emotional health, healthy lifestyles and child development & additional needs.
If you wish to discuss a referral into our service to support your child’s health needs please contact Just One Number.
Carers Matter Norfolk provides the countywide service supporting unpaid carers. They have lots of useful information on their dedicated website and an app for young people. Young carers and their families can receive 1:1 or group support from Carers Matter to help them make choices about their caring and get the support they need. If you want to talk to one of the team about your child as a young carer, you can call them on 0800 083 1148.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.