Research Abstracts: Young Carers

Title: Does every young carer matter? What does Every Child Matters mean for young carers?
Author: Fox, Alex; Becker, Fiona; Becker, Saul
Reference: Childright, No.235, April 2007, pp.16-19.

Abstract: The Every Child Matters policy agenda and subsequent Children Act set out five outcomes that are identified as key for well-being in childhood and later life. One of the challenges of enhancing well-being for young carers is that they require both support for themselves from children’s services and support for the person they care for, which can often only come from adult services. This article identifies the barriers that can prevent young carers achieving the five outcomes, and it poses key questions that services need to address to help young carers achieve the five outcomes.

Title: Young carers: conventional or exaggerated levels of involvement in domestic and caring tasks?
Author: Warren, Janet
Reference: Children and Society, 21(2), March 2007, pp.136-146.

Abstract: This study presents new evidence of what children and young people generally do to assist in the home and examines how the lives of young carers differ from children and young people who are not carers. The study used face-to-face interviews to survey 390 children and young people aged 9-18 years, to find out their perceptions of what they do at home. It concludes by examining the implications of these research findings for policy and practice.

Title: Young carers
Fox, Alex
Reference: Community Practitioner, 79(10), October 2006, pp.313-314

Abstract: Fox discusses the hidden struggles of young carers and the signs health practitioners can look out for to identify those who need help. The article highlights useful resources.

Title: The experiences of children living with and caring for parents with mental illness.
Author: Aldridge, Jo
Reference: Child Abuse Review, March-April 2006, pp.79-88.

Abstract: This research provides a three-way perspective on the experiences and needs of children who are living with and caring for parents with severe and enduring mental illness. The views of children, parents and key workers were sought in order to provide deeper insight into the needs of families as well as the relationships between service users and providers. Child protection and medical research has long proposed a link between parental mental illness and the risk to children of abuse, neglect and developmental delay. The inevitability of risk associations is challenged by the research described here and outcomes for children of caring for parents with mental illness are discussed not simply in terms of risk to children but more broadly in respect of, for example, positive parent-child relationships.

Title: Young carers in refugee and asylum-seeking families
Author: Leadbitter, Helen
Reference: International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 2(2), September 2006, pp35-40

Abstract: The objective here was to gain an overview of the possible benefits of integrating services for children and how this could overcome obstacles to educational and economic participation in the African context.

Title: Children caring for their ill parents with HIV/AIDS
Author: Bauman, Laurie J et al
Reference: Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 1(1), April 2006, pp.56-70

Abstract: Children orphaned by HIV/AIDS experience not only the trauma of a parent’s death, but the stress of living with and often caring for an ill and dying parent. We interviewed 50 mothers ill from HIV/AIDS in both Mutare, Zimbabwe and New York, USA, and one child of each aged 8-16 about personal assistive care the child provided other household responsibilities hours/day children spent on chores and parental/child mental health. Children provided substantial amounts of personal care took responsibility for cooking, cleaning, shopping and other household tasks and some were their parents’ confidants. The amount of care provided was related to maternal disability, not child age, gender, or presence of other adults/siblings. Children reported performing more tasks than their mothers reported. Almost half of New York and 80% of Mutare children said they had too much responsibility, and most reported reduced after-school and peer activities. Both children and parents felt children were more capable because of their responsibilities. Depression rates in New York and Mutare children were high but Mutare children were extremely vulnerable two-thirds had depression scores in the clinically significant range. However, child caregiving was unrelated to depression. Research to better understand the role of child caregivers is still needed.


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