APPENDIX 5 YOUNG ADULT CARERS - RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE ACTION
The key factor to be considered in the development of services and interventions for carers aged 16-17 and 18-24 years should be concerned with outcomes for the carers rather than types of services and models. Commissioners and service providers should identify clearly the outcomes to be achieved and delivered for these groups of carers.
A key principle for the development of services should be that young carers and young adult carers, who wish to do so, are involved fully in planning services.
Services for young carers under the age of 18 need to prepare them, around the ages of 16 years and over for the next 'phase' in their lives. This might include signposting or referral to other service providers to make sure that this transition is as smooth and successful as possible.
Young Carers projects could have a key role in developing and delivering short, focused transition preparation programmes for young carers. This should include the issues most pertinent to them, such as job/course search skills, grant applications for university, CVs, first aid, cooking, benefits, relationships, adult social care services etc. Development and delivery would need to take place with key partners, including Skills Development Scotland, local colleges, local regeneration agencies etc. There will undoubtedly be existing good practice which supports young carers or which could be adapted to specifically meet the needs of young carers. Within the wider skills and employability context, young carers and young adult carers need to be seen as a target group for support/intervention.
The Scottish Government should explore how the School Leaver Destination Return ( SLDR) , carried out annually and with a 6 monthly follow up exercise, could be altered to 'baseline' the destinations and outcomes achieved by young carers/young adult carers when they leave school. Skills Development Scotland's Insight Database could be used to help in gathering data on young carers situations, outcomes etc as this already is central to the completion of the SLDR survey of all Scottish school leavers.
Systems will need to be developed and put in place to monitor and evaluate interventions and outcomes, using robust measures, instruments and tools that enable comparison between interventions/services over time and place. Recommendation 5, above, provides a starting point in terms of examining outcomes for young carers as they become young adult carers.
All agencies, but especially local authority services and Carers Services, should provide young carers and young adult carers with information about their legal rights, including the right to a Carer's Assessment from the local authority, which is a potential gateway to services and support for carers and their family.
Young Carers' projects, in conjunction with adult carers' and other services, need to consider the best ways to provide 'seamless services' to young carers after they reach 18 years of age. Young Carers' projects need to build relationships and bridges with local Adult Carers services to help adult services recognise and become more engaged with the needs of young adult carers.
Universal services, such as schools and health (including primary and secondary health care), have a role to play in supporting young carers and young adult carers alongside more specialist provision. Universal service providers need to be more alert to the specific needs of these carers and find ways to deliver their particular service to them, but they also have a crucial role in identifying young carers in the first place.
Agencies that would not traditionally be associated with meeting the needs of carers also need to identify and engage with young adult carers. So, for example, colleges, universities, JobCentre Plus, employers, leisure services providers, housing and others all need to be alert and sensitive to the needs and issues confronting this group of hidden carers and which affect their opportunities for further education and learning, leisure, careers and paid work - a life outside of their caring role and the chance to access the same opportunities as their peers.
The needs of young adult carers, and the outcomes that are required through service interventions, need to be integrated fully into every local authority's carers/young carers strategy.
Adult Carers services need to address the barriers that are inhibiting carers aged 18-24 from using their service and address their own lack of relevance to this group - as perceived by young adult carers themselves.