Are you under 18 and looking after someone in your family who is ill or disabled? This may be a parent, a brother or sister or a grandparent. Maybe you help by staying at home a lot to be there for them, helping them get washed or dressed, perhaps translating and interpreting for them, or doing lots of cleaning, shopping and cooking.
If this sounds like you, then you are a young carer. It may seem a strange way to describe yourself, because looking after someone in your family may feel like a natural role. But being a carer means you have a right to help and support to make life easier.
Looking after someone can be stressful
It can be stressful as well as hard work looking after someone, even when you love them. And it can make it harder to keep up with things at school or to find time for yourself to relax, have fun or see your friends.
Help from the council
As a young carer you are entitled to get help and support from your council. The council will not be looking to stop from you from supporting the person you look after, nor to separate you from that person. They will ask you what sort of support you would like to make your life and your caring role easier.
There are two ways in which you can get help from your council:
- If you are under the age of 18 you can have a children's assessment - this will aim to help you to find ways that will allow you to concentrate on your education, see your friends and have a normal childhood. Read more about children's assessments.
- If you are looking after a person over the age of 18 you are entitled to a an assessment under S.17ZA of the Children's Act 1989 - this will aim to find ways in which you can be supported in your caring role. To have an assessment contact the Children's First Contact Service on 0208 770 6001, or access the CFCS referral form (DOC). If you prefer, you can ask someone you know to contact the council for you - maybe a friend or relative, a teacher, or your family doctor. Don't be afraid to ask - it is important to get the help you are entitled to.
Other information and advice
Sutton Young Carers Service provides specialist support for young carers, including information, advice and lots of other support services. Find out more about what Sutton Young Carers Service offer, or refer yourself or a young carer for support (external link).
Telephone: 020 8296 5611 / Email: email@example.com
The following websites offer information and support for young carers:
Carers Direct has videos, carer's stories and lots of useful information for young carers (external link).
The Children's Society offers information, advice and support for young carers (external link).
Barnardos provides support and information for young carers (external link).
Carers Trust offers information for young carers (external link).
Sibs supports children and young people who have a brother or sister with a disability (external link).