On 12 February 2019, Westminster Hall House of Commons will debate the topic of Support for Young Carers. This includes funding, programs and spending reviews to provide the most optimal and wholistic support services for Young Carers in the UK.
Local councils in England currently provide over 800 services for Young Carers, however with limited funding and federal support, it seems there has emerged a ‘caring crisis’.
UK Young Carer Statistics
- The 2011 Census identified 166,363 Young Carers in England, which is a fifth higher than the previous decade. However, a BBC News and Nottingham University survey in September 2018 estimated that there are more than 800,000 secondary-school age children carrying out some level of care.
- 68 percent of Young Carers are bullied in schools.
- Only half of Young Carers have a particular person in school who recognises their carer responsibilities and provides support.
- On average, 48 school days were missed or cut short because of caring roles.
- Many services are only funded to work with young carers up to the age of 18. In a survey, 79 per cent of Young Carers said they were worried about moving on as they felt there was no support for them.
So, what’s on the agenda?
It’s said that support services to Young Carers are currently being undermined by funding cuts to local council budgets:
It is essential that carers have the support they need to maintain their own wellbeing and to be able to lead fulfilling lives; to maintain social relationships, undertake education and training, maintain employment, be active community members, and so forth. Councils’ ability to provide this well-being support is undermined by the continued cuts to council budgets.
With this in mind, Local Government Association is calling for spending review and greater funding to support services.
The ability of councils to provide the support needed to all carers, is undermined by the funding to councils and the impact on social care budgets, coupled with increasing demands and increasing costs. We are calling on the Government to use the upcoming Spending Review to fund the £3.1 billion shortfall facing children’s services by 2024/25.
What would we like to see?
There’s a lot we’d like to see discussed, including greater emphasis on Young Carer led services, and closing the gap on Young Carers in areas such as education, employment and socio-economic status.
A greater focus on identification of Young Carers is required, as evidenced by BBC statistics that estimate there to be 800,000 Young Carers across England, as opposed to census data which revealed just 166,363.
We’d like to see programs for early intervention, identification and support for Young Carers led by Young Carers. Many current Young Carer programs have been shaped by adult carers (and non-caring peers). Young Carers deserve equal, if not more, credit when it comes to developing programs, as their opinions and experiences are far more pertinent.
Furthermore, work with schools (including parents, teachers, Young Carers and their peers) is fundamental in creating more engaging and supportive school communities, where Young Carers feel encouraged to attend.
Additionally, we believe the gap between 18 years of age and 25 years of age as a Young Carer requires enhanced focus and support. In this particularly challenging time, including a transition from school to employment or study, Young Carers can often fall through the cracks of the support system. This also emphasises the need for early intervention and preventative services, to ready Young Carers for this leap.
“We need to provide early intervention and preventative support for these Young Carers rather than reactive programs to make a deep and meaningful impact in the lives of these young people.” – Madeleine Buchner
To read more about the debate before it takes place, click here.