Agenda item

Support for Young Carers

The Panel is asked to provide information about the support mechanisms / groups that are available for Young Carers and identify if there are any particular gaps in provision.


The Director of Children's Services & Education introduced the report to the Panel and highlighted the following sections.


·  Bath & North East Somerset Council has commissioned the Carers Centre to deliver a Young Carers Service, which holds the Councils’ delegated authority to provide statutory needs assessments for young carers on request as per The Children and Families Act (2014). The Young Carers Service has a dedicated Team to assess and support young carers locally. The Young Carers Service, in partnership with other services, promote awareness of young carers and ensure that their needs are identified through Early Help assessments, with clear guidance for practitioners.


·  The Young Carers Service delivers a wide range of short breaks and youth activities for different age groups throughout the year, which provide opportunities for young carers to have a break from their caring role and spend time with their peers. The activities are informed by young carers and their families.


·  The Young Carers Service delivers Wellbeing Groups for young carers, providing emotional support and strategies for coping with the stresses that come with caring.


·  The Young Carers Service delivers Family Events for young carers and their families, giving them the opportunity to spend quality time as a family and meet and connect other families who may have similar needs.


·  The Young Carers Service provide training, advice and information to schools. Schools are encouraged to offer proactive support to Young Carers in their settings, such as Young Carers Support Groups, a ‘Delegated Lead’ for young carers so that they know who the ‘trusted adult/s’ are that they can talk to, and ensure there are processes in place for staff to know who the young carers are in their school and guidance on how they can be supported.


·  If a young carer is bereaved, the Carers Centre would support them to find a relevant service such as Winston’s Wish or We Hear You, who are experts in providing this support. A very small proportion of Young Carers in BANES have had a parental bereavement or are caring for a parent with a terminal condition.


·  The Children and Families Act 2014 gives young carers and young adult carers in England a right to a carer's assessment and to have their needs met (if the assessment shows this is needed).


·  B&NES Council outlined its commitment to young carers in The B&NES Young Carers Strategy 2022–2024. The Strategy is an excellent example of co-production by B&NES Council, Young Carers and The Carers Centre which set out six priority areas covering Recognition of young carers; What Young Carers Need - Deliver young carers needs assessments on request for all young carers; Support for Young Carers; Help others understand Young Carers; Always involve Young Carers and their families; Growing and changing with Young Carers – Transition primary – secondary- tertiary – adult services as a carer.


Kevin Burnett asked how Young Carers were identified.


The Director of Children's Services & Education replied that information is available to all schools to enable them to help identify those young people who are undertaking this role. She added that the Carers Centre would then carry out an assessment when notified. She said that any young person could also self-refer themselves to the Carers Centre.


She said that schools are encouraged to identify a designated lead for this area and that information is available via the Early Help app and the Council’s website.


Councillor Dave Harding asked if any information was available as to the gap in time between a young person beginning to provide care and them being formally identified as a Young Carer.


The Director of Children's Services & Education replied that she did not have that information to hand and would seek a response for the Panel.


Councillor Joanna Wright asked whether, as Corporate Parents, the age range of this provision should be extended up to 25 from 18.


The Director of Children's Services & Education replied that when a young person, who is known to the service, becomes 18 or prior to that date they would work with Adult Services to oversee a transition as to what their needs would be post-18.


Councillor Liz Hardman said that she would like to encourage schools to have a more active role in this process. She suggested whether an indication could be if they are missing school on a regular basis to carry out their carer role. She stated that the service needs to be funded appropriately and that to be using reserves was not sustainable.


The Director of Children's Services & Education replied that the Young Carers Service visit schools on annual basis to provide training. She added that information is available also through our Early Help Services and our Commissioned Services.


The Director of Education & Safeguarding added that the Children Missing Education Service will be aware of this service and can advocate to schools if they become aware of any issues. He added that it is also promoted by School Nurses and GP Practices.


Councillor Hardman said that further ways to raise awareness should be considered and explained that recently her local GP had sent an all patient text message on this subject in the hope that those young people can be made aware of the support that is in place should they need it.


The Director of Children's Services & Education said that the budget setting process was ongoing and that this would be included as part of those discussions.


Kevin Burnett suggested that the matter is also raised with the BSW ICB.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the update provided.

Supporting documents: