Do you have pupils in your school who you know are – or you believe to be – young carers? The Dorset Young Carers Service can help you identify young carers, and take the first steps in supporting them. This includes assessing young carers to identify their individual needs and decide how to meet them.
Please read through these guidelines before making a referral to the Dorset Young Carers Service. We understand the complicated dynamics of some families, so please feel free to contact us if you are unsure whether a referral is appropriate.
Definition of a young carer
Young carers are children or young people aged under 18yrs who provide significant care to someone in their family who has a disability, a long-term illness, or is affected by mental ill health or substance misuse. Young carers take on caring responsibilities, both practical and emotional, that an adult would normally undertake.
To meet eligibility for the service, children and young people must meet our definition of a young carer. The service is funded to work with young carers aged 5-18, and we are unable accept referrals for young carers outside this age bracket. We advise agencies to contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01202 228866 for children aged under five years, where there is concern that they are significantly affected by caring responsibilities. In all cases, it is important that parental consent is given for the referral.
Children and young people may not be eligible if their caring responsibilities do not have an adverse impact on the following:
• physical/mental health
• emotional and behavioural development
• family and social/peer relationships.
Children and young people may not be eligible if:
• care tasks are age appropriate and do not exceed what an ‘average’ child of their age would undertake (e.g. a teenager helping with some house work, walking to the local shop etc)
• they are helping to support a primary adult carer with care tasks i.e. they are a secondary carer
• they are living with a family member who is ill, disabled or misusing substances but are not providing care for that person, for themselves or for siblings.
• their caring responsibilities are due to parenting issues or neglect (i.e. caring for siblings because parents are working or inattentive)
• parental consent has not been given.
Referrals can be made directly to the young carers service by completing a request for service form.
If appropriate, we will complete an assessment as soon as possible and will inform the family and the referrer whether we are able to offer a service.
If the child or young person meets our criteria, we will offer them a service, which includes access to group activities, one-to-one and family support. Each young carer will have an annual review to take into account changes in circumstances, and to ensure that the young carer is still eligible for support.
To contact a member of the Young Carers team, please call 01305 225677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org