Directors of children’s and adults’ services have promised to ensure that the needs of young carers are also met when referrals are made about parents with disabilities, dependency or illness.
They have launched a protocol for social workers to make sure young carers are also able to “learn, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children”.
According to the protocol, jointly drawn up and signed by the presidents of both the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), directors must ensure that:
- Earlier and more effective responses to young carers and their families are available.
- No care or support package for a parent or sibling relies on excessive or inappropriate caring by a young carer to make it sustainable.
- Young carers are helped to achieve their potential, and to have the same access to education, career choices and broader opportunities as their peers.
Kim Bromley-Derry, pictured, president of the ADCS, and Jenny Owen, president of Adass, called on professionals across all sectors to include personalised responses for young carers – a third of whom are caring for a family member who is mentally ill – when working with families, regardless of whether children’s or adult services was contacted first.
Both leaders emphasised that the aims set out for young carers apply “no matter how competent or willing the young carer may appear to be” and equally “whether care needs arise as a result of mental or physical illness, substance misuse, disability; or whether a parent or sibling is the focus of support.”