Young Carers: Q&A’s
A ‘young carer’ can be child or young person who takes on a caring role for another family member. This caring role can see these young people provide support to family member ranging from washing, dressing, preparing food to providing medication and ongoing emotional support. A ‘young carer’ may be caring because their family member has a long term illness, drug or alcohol related concerns, mental ill health, physical or learning disabilities.
The pressure of caring for a family member may mean that a ‘young carer’ prioritises the cared for person, or any brothers and sisters they may have and this can often see them fail to recognise their own physical, emotional and mental well being needs. Added pressure can often mean making a choice between caring for family or the opportunity to experience being a child or young person with their own peers.
Young carers projects across the country can often provide a range of services to help children and young people cope with the stress, frustration and isolation of caring for a family member. This can be befriending, focused one to one work, group work and valuable respite in residential opportunities. The invaluable peer support opportunities offered by meeting with other children and young people in similar situations are backed up with support from youth workers who can talk about how to cope, where to get further help and sometimes just the opportunity to have space to themselves.
Young Adult Carers Project
PKAVS Carers Services have received funding to create a Young Adult Carers Project for those aged 16-25. This project is part of the About Time programme which is managed by Carers Trust. Caring responsibilities can affect young people’s transition to adulthood, with carers of this age group having specific support needs which differ from young and adult carers. The creation of this project aims to support the enhancement of young people’s skills, employability and independence. We will be working with local services to enable young adult carers the best support possible.
The ongoing development of the project will be user led with an opportunity for young adult carers to voice and lead what support they would like within the project. This support may include:
- One to one sessions
- Group support sessions
- Respite and activity breaks
- Advice and support on further education
- CV and employment advice
- Support in regards to caring role
To make a referral to the Young Adult Carers Project or for more information please contact Julie MacEathen on 01738 567076 or
There are Young Carers projects in Perth & Kinross, Dundee and Angus, as well as the Western Isles
The Western Isles Project
The Lewis and Harris Young Carers Project (YCP) is based in Pointers Youth Centre in Stornoway and is in the process of being set up in Partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Action for Children and NHS Western Isles. The project will provide young people who attend the project with activities based on the wants and needs of those who attend. Young people will have the opportunity to relax, meet with other young carers in a safe non threatening environment. Young people will have access to a variety of agencies and the group will disseminate information to the groups/individuals based on needs identified. Our remit is to find hidden young carers and raise awareness of young carers issues. The project offers services, support and information to young carers in Lewis and Harris aged 11-16 years.
For details of young carers projects in your area go to services and put Young Carers in the search
Teachers and staff often don’t realise the stress I’m under at home and I don’t get the chance to speak to them on my own. Can the schools arrange weekly/monthly meetings to help support me?
Regular support meetings with a guidance teacher or form teacher are available to pupils who require additional support to help with stress, workload and links with home. However if you do not feel comfortable approaching the school directly but feel you need more support at school this is something the Young Carers Project in your area can discuss with the school on your behalf.
Money is tight at home and I often go without lunch because there is no money. How can I get free school meals?
“Who is eligible for Free School Meals?
You can claim free school meals for your child(ren) if you are receiving:
- Income Support (IS)
- Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance (IBJSA)
- Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £15,860 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs)
- Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC) and your income is less than £6,420 (as assessed by the Inland Revenue)
- If you are between 16 and 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in your own right, you can claim free school meals for yourself.
- You may also be eligible if you are an asylum seeker receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- For more information on Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit visit the Inland Revenue Website:Click Here
We never get a break as a family because of my sibling’s disability, what can children’s service do to help us get a break as a family?
Schools could link in with Social services and voluntary agencies such as local Young Carer services to enquire if any support would be available in this area. They may also investigate school trips/holidays which the young carer may be able to participate in.
Can school give all young carers one free period a week to catch up on revision / homework / class work if they are falling behind?
If schools are made aware of the fact a pupil is a young carer and it is agreed that the support is required for the pupil this should be discussed and investigated. If the pupil/family does not feel confident in approaching the subject with the school, support could be given via their local Education Additional Support Officer/Young Carers Service/children’s rights officer.
I never get invited to meetings at school, how can I find out what has been discussed and what next steps they have discussed?
Parents/carers and young people should be invited to meetings. The voice of the child/ young person is extremely important and steps should be taken to ensure that opportunities are provided for their views to be heard. Minutes of Additional Support meetings are taken and these should be sent to all participants, and to those who are invited but can not attend.
At my school there are guidance teachers who specialise in ‘Bereavement’ and ‘Parental divorce’ – why is there not one who specialises in young carers?
This has been highlighted and more awareness raising work for school staff is being planned. This proposal will be seriously considered.
The pharmacy do not let me pick up mum’s medication when she is sick and cannot go herself – what can I do?
A letter of permission from a parent (or, if unable to do so, a Social Worker on behalf of a parent) would be sufficient. If required for regular collection of medicines, the details can be recorded on a Patient Medication Record (Pharmacy IT system) at a pharmacy. Note – the medication would always have to be collected from the same pharmacy. Some pharmacies may accept a telephone call from a parent in an emergency situation.
If I give the pharmacist a letter from mum when she is not well would this cover me to pick up mum’s medication?
Yes, see above
Can the pharmacy print bigger labels as I can’t read the small labels?
Most Pharmacy IT systems can do larger print labels. Ask the pharmacist as soon as a prescription is handed in for dispensing.
How can I find out which inhalers my brother needs?
Your brother’s regular Community Pharmacist will be able to advise and support with this. It may also be worth contacting his local GP surgery and asking to talk with their Asthma Nurse.
Where can I get information from to find out how much medication I need to give the person I care for?
This information may well be printed on the dispensing label. If you are still not sure, discuss with the person’s regularCommunity Pharmacist or contact the person’s G.P. In addition NHS Inform CLICK HERE(or 0800 22 44 88) has a medicines advice section.
Can the pharmacy make me a medication chart to help make sure the person I care for gets the right amount of medication at the right time?
Some pharmacies will have the necessary facilities to print off a Medication Reminder Chart with details of the amount of medication to be given at different times of the day. Ask to talk to the Community Pharmacist who will advise.
How can I get help sorting my mum or dads pills out? I am not sure what time my mum needs her medication.
Talk to your mum or dad’s regular Community Pharmacist. Ask them about the Chronic Medication Scheme which may be useful in helping sort out the medication problems. The Community Pharmacy may be able to print actual times of administration on the medicine dispensing labels for you. The Pharmacist can also assess whether a Weekly Compliance Aid might be appropriate in helping your mum or dad with their medication.
Childline offer a free phone line to discuss things – is there any way there could be a young carers line when I feel stressed or just need to talk?
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Scotland offers a lot of support to young carers (Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carerstrust) and they operate local groups.
For further advice please do not hesitate to contact your local Young Carers service, the contact details of which can be found on the Cool2Talk website.