Carers Rights Day 2018 is focused on supporting people to prepare for their future through the theme Caring for Your Future.
Every year, organisations across the UK come together to participate in Carers Rights Day. Carers Rights Day, led by Carers UK, aims to:
- Make carers aware of their rights
- Let carers know where to get help and support
- Raise awareness of the needs of carers.
Young carers’ futures
We know from extensive research that undertaking a caring role can have serious and long-lasting impacts on a young person. Their school attendance is often significantly lower than their peers, and they obtain – on average – much lower GCSE grades. Young carers are more likely to be persistently not in education, employment, or training over two years, and in lower paid jobs in their twenties.
It is the aspiration of many young people to attend university, however many young carers who want to, do not go to university because they can’t afford to, or because they are worried about how their family will cope without them. Young carers who want to attend university might also experience ‘restricted choice.’ For example, they might wish to attend the best university for their course, but opt to stay closer to home in order to maintain their caring role, or to try to save money.
The rights of young carers
The Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014 outline that young carers have the right to:
- Be identified
- An assessment of their needs
- Have their future needs considered
- A ‘whole family approach’.
A young carers assessment should be carried out as soon as a young person is identified as having a caring role, and part of the initial assessment, as well as any later ‘transition assessments’ should be about considering the young carer’s future needs. Do they want to study A levels or at university? What do they and their family need in order for this to be achievable?
Supporting young carers in schools
If you work in a school, you can help to improve the chances of young carers by embedding the Young Carers in Schools programme (YCiS) into practice and policy. Our results show that young carers attending a YCiS school show improved attainment, lower absence rates, and improved levels of wellbeing and confidence. The YCiS programme also improves the ability of staff to signpost young carers to appropriate help.
If you want to do more to support young carers in your school, you can start by downloading our Step-by-step Guide, which breaks down the implementation of support into manageable steps. Our blog posts Why is it important to support young carers in my school? and How planning ahead can save you time and ensure your success will give you some top tips on how to get started. And don’t forget, you can email us on YCiS@childrenssociety.org.uk with any questions.