Agenda item

Young Carers Update

This agenda item will provide an update on Young Carers. A presentation will be provided to members, which will include a general update on the Young Carers agreement between September to December 2023, future priorities and engagement with schools.


This agenda item provided a presentation to the Commission on Young Carers following the Carers Strategy Update in July 2022. Two actions were identified relating to Young Carers which were:

·       That future reports in respect of Young Carers would include strong evidence of co-production and assurances that the perspectives of Young Carers are being heard. 

·       That the service would prioritise provision of leisure and culture activities for respite for Young Carers.


The Chair welcomed to the meeting Helen Sweaton, Joint Assistant Director for Commissioning and Performance and Paul Stinson, Commissioning Manager.


The Chair invited Councillor Cusworth to introduce the report and Paul to lead on the presentation, during which the following was noted:


It was advised that the voice of children and young people was very important to the service and young carers attended the Children and Young People’s Partnership Board meetings on a regular basis.


Local Challenges and Opportunities-

·       Since January 2023, there was a statutory duty for all schools to identify young carers, and record who identified them in the Department for Education (DfE) school census data return. This was collected annually during the Spring census and sent to the council’s Performance and Quality Team. 

·       The first year of School Census data relating to young carers was released in June 2023. The data showed significant under-reporting of the number of young carers in school and of the 45,627 pupils, only 20 young carers were identified. The next return would be in May 2024.

·       Transition support for younger carers moving to secondary school and for young adult carers to transition to college and/or university was an opportunity to be considered in the future due to increasing demands.

·       Bereavement support for carers as they lose loved ones was an emerging issue.

·       Members of the Young Carers Council advised in November 2023, that they would like more links with leisure facilities to be held “outside of buildings” as young carers were often in their home, caring for long periods of time.

·       Partnership group work with health colleagues could be developed further to address mental health.

·       Barnardo’s supported the young carers they were working with in schools if needed, around absenteeism for appointments.


Young Carer’s Perspectives Were Being Heard-

·       Future reports in respect of young carers would include strong evidence of co-production and assurances that the perspectives of young carers were being heard. 

·       Specific questions in the lifestyle survey collated evidence of the perspective of young carers.

·       The young carers specification was being reviewed to ensure the perspective of young carers was included in all reports.

·       The young carers service would be co-produced.


Rotherham LifeStyle Survey Data Extract from Young Carers in Secondary School-

·       79% of Year Seven respondents (450) said caring for someone did not affect their school day.

·       81% of Year Ten respondents (329) said caring for someone did not affect their school day.

·       82% of Year Seven respondents (446) said it was very or sometimes important to them to have someone in school who fully understood their caring role and how it affected them.

·       68% of Year Ten respondents (328) said it was very or sometimes important to them to have someone in school who fully understood their caring role and how it affected them.


Respite Activities for Young Carers-

·       The service was to prioritise provision of leisure and culture activities, for respite for young carers.

·       The young carers specification was being reviewed to ensure leisure and culture activities were offered to young carers.

·       Barnardo’s would continue to be flexible, innovative and responsive to needs of the young carers in future issue-based group work offered, and would signpost when appropriate to other leisure and culture services.

·       Young carers were invited to participate in Rotherham’s capital of culture programme.


Support for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers-

·       Young carers and young adult carers undertook a range of tasks to support family members or friends. This included shopping, cooking, cleaning, managing medicines or money, providing personal care, helping people to get out of the house, keeping an eye on someone and providing emotional support.

·       Barnardo’s aimed to  promote and improve the health and well-being of young carers (and their families where appropriate); by protecting them from undertaking excessive and inappropriate caring roles and responsibilities and preventing the continuation of inappropriate caring.


Barnardo’s Agreement With Young Carers-

·       Under the current funding agreement there were two dedicated project workers within Barnardo’s and a Team Manager. They provided:

?   Time limited one-to-one support where an assessed need of a negative impact was identified.

?   Support to gain a better understanding of the person they care for in terms of illness and/or difficulty.

?   Weekly issue-based group work for up to six weeks, around confidence, self-esteem, anger management, stress relaxation, keeping safe, bullying, health, hygiene and first aid training.

?   Access to activities during half term, whilst with the service.

?   Support to aid social inclusion.

?   Support in school to help with attendance and any other difficulty which may be identified in the assessment process, to ensure young carers received the appropriate support to enable them to achieve and have the same opportunities as their peers.

?   Support was boroughwide and referrals were taken by telephone.  Referrals were made through school, Social Care, Voluntary Organisations and self-referrals.

·       Barnardo’s were commissioned to work with a select cohort of young carers since 2007.

·       It was a small element of the young carers and the young adult carers landscape which they contribute to. 

·       This agreement was commissioned to support and protect young carers from the negative impact of undertaking excessive and inappropriate caring roles and responsibilities, preventing the continuation of inappropriate caring.

·       The service had an inclusive approach, supporting the family as a whole and working in partnership with other agencies. The aim was to reduce any negative impact of the caring role on children and young people and build on the positive strengths within families, increasing resilience and making a long-term difference.

·       They were working with 49 young carers and 2 young adult carers who were individually assessed that their caring role was having a negative impact on them on them physically or emotionally.  The assessment criteria used both social and emotional drivers developed by Barnardo’s with existing young carers.


How Young Carers Were Supported Into Adulthood-

·       In the young carers Barnardo’s agreement at the time, support was provided to young adult carers that the service was working with via the following:

·       Attendance at meetings.

·       Supported via attending and transporting at enrolment days at schools, colleges, and universities.

·       Information stalls at colleges, presentations in schools to staff and students and other services.

·       Referred young people to both Crossroads Care which offered support to carers, respite, access to grants and Beacon Carers Support which provided one to one support, counselling, relaxation therapy and group support.

·       Young person’s grants were provided through Barnardo’s to access equipment and essentials, such as school uniform and to access activities.

·       Cost of living grants.

·       Work with Higher Education Progression Partnership (HEPP) helped young carers to explore university.

·       There was a gap in service provision for Young Adult Carers in Rotherham between the ages of 18 to 25 years, as they transitioned to adulthood and did not feel ready to be part of Adult Services.

·       “No Wrong Doors” was an initiative launched in March 2015 and there was a template for a local memorandum of understanding between statutory Directors of Children’s and Adult Social Services which was being updated by Carers Trust UK, to re-invigorate this area of work.


What Needed to Change Nationally-

·       Carers Trust was a major UK Charity for, with and about carers. They worked to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who was ill, frail, disabled or had mental health or addiction problems.

·       In March 2022 571 young carers and young adult carers were surveyed between the age of 12 to 15. The young carers and young adult carers who shared their thoughts and experiences were clear about the things that needed to change nationally so that they would have the following:

?   Breaks and respite from their caring role and help from services that understood them.

?   Support for their emotional wellbeing and mental health.

?   Help from their place of education and employer, so that they could succeed.

?   Connections to friends and communities.

?   Better support for those they cared for

·       As a result, the following was recommended by the UK Charity Carers Trust:

?   More commissioned breaks and time outside of caring.

?   The UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive should monitor how local authorities are meeting their statutory duties to identify and support young carers and young adult carers.

?   Education providers needed to take an integrated approach to support.

?   Prioritised access to mental health support for young carers and young adult carers.

?   Free or discounted leisure and transport.

?   More financial support for young adult carers, the carers allowance should be extended to young adult carers in full-time or higher education.

?   Sustainably fund the wider social care system, by increasing the availability of support provided by statutory sources for the person they cared for.


The Chair thanked the relevant officer for the presentation and invited questions, this led to the following points being raised during discussions:


·       Do many young carers identify themselves as a young carer?- The recording of young carers was based on the statutory duty to record young carers which was newly introduced. There service acknowledged that there was a lot of young carers who were not identified by the statutory reporting mechanisms in place. The Lifestyle Survey also helped to identify young carers and the local authority was having regular conversations with schools to encourage identification and referrals of young carers.

·       A written response would be provided confirm whether Adult Services prioritised adults who were being cared for by young carers.




1)     That Members of the Improving Lives Select Commission note the presentation and progress to date.

That the closed session in relation to this item be rearranged.