Part 2: Supporting Young Carers
Part I of this report covers young carers throughout. This is because some of the initiatives to support adult carers such as the voluntary sector Short Breaks Fund and training apply in equal measure to young carers.
In addition, specific policy and practice in relation to young carers is set out in this Part, as are wider developments such as Additional Support for Learning and the Children and Young People Bill.
The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that young carers have the same opportunities as other children and young people who do not have caring responsibilities and that they are not disadvantaged. It is important, therefore, to support young carers in primary school and through transition to secondary school to Further and Higher Education and employment.
Initiatives to support young carers
Some of the Scottish Government initiatives to support young carers include:
- funding of the Eryc and Trayc initiative being taken forward by the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance (SYCSA) in primary schools;
- funding of a toolkit for secondary schools - to be launched later;
- funding of the College Development Network to raise awareness of young carers (and carers) in colleges and to support young carers (and carers);
- funding of the voluntary sector Short Breaks Fund over four years, a proportion of which is supporting young carers. Following a short break on the ocean waves with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, one young carer said:
"I've never done anything like this before. I've made new friends as a result. I used to be nervous talking to new people but this has given my self-confidence a boost. I don't have a job, but since I got back from the expedition I've got back in touch with the local guides as a leader to give me something to do"
- funding of the annual Scotland-wide Young Carers Festival;
- funding of NHS Board Carer Information Strategies (CIS) to 2015 (£29 million), a proportion of which is supporting young carers;
- development and funding of the Young Carers Card pilot in all of four NHS Board areas and in parts of two Health Board areas. The card is to be used in both health and educational settings. Some of the areas have negotiated discounts for young carers with sports and leisure providers. The Scottish Government recently invited all Health Boards to consider introducing a card into their areas. We await all replies.
Work is ongoing with Glasgow Caledonian University to explore new technologies to support young carers. The project seeks to identify a technology solution to support young people with caring responsibilities who are disadvantaged due to barriers created by their caring role, through the provision of access to information, advice and peer support.
Additional Support for Learning
Under the Additional Support for Learning Act education authorities have responsibilities to identify, make provision for and review the additional support needs of all their pupils. Where a child or young person may have an additional support needs as a result of being a young carer, these responsibilities apply. This means that a plan would be put in place to help those pupils who are young carers with their learning. Information for young people on the Act is available from http://enquire.org.uk/yp/.
In February 2013 Scottish Ministers provided their second report to Parliament on the implementation of additional support for learning. This year the report had an additional focus on how young carers are supported in schools. The report sets out examples of positive practice in meeting the learning needs of young carers. The report can be found at:
Training, skills and employment
Through Opportunities for All the Scottish Government has made an explicit commitment to an offer of a place in learning or training to every 16-19 year old not engaged in education, training or employment.
From 2012, the Scottish Government is providing £1.5 million over 3 years through the Employer Recruitment Incentive (ERI) to encourage employers to recruit the most disadvantaged young people, including young carers.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has introduced My World of Work which is a new online resource helping people to plan, build and direct their careers and is central to developing individuals' career management skills. At local level, SDS teams are working with carers and young carers centres and projects to raise awareness of SDS's services.
Young Carers Rights Charter
Due to the existence of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there was no action point in Getting it Right for Young Carers, to produce a Young Carers Rights Charter. However, the Scottish Government has now asked the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance (SYCSA) to work with partners, including young carers, to produce such a Charter.
Children and Young People Bill
The Children and Young People Bill has now been introduced into Parliament. Its provisions cover, amongst other things, children's rights and putting Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) on a statutory footing.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, under the GIRFEC part of the Bill, all children and young people from birth to 18 years old will have access to a Named Person, there will be a single planning process to support those children who require it, there will be a definition of wellbeing in law and duties will be placed on public bodies to coordinate the planning, design and delivery for services for children and young people with a focus on improving wellbeing outcomes.
All of these provisions will cover children and young people who have caring responsibilities.
The link below provides further information:
The examples below set out some local initiatives supporting young carers :
Education Maintenance Allowance:
At Stevenson College when a young person was identified as struggling to meet 100% target, as part of their learning plan, they were given a lower target and were supported to try and make it up to 100% by the end of their course. The Bursary Department was in Student Services so they worked with us and were able to record this so that when the bursary software ran at the end of each month it took the lower target into account."
In Forth Valley, if the college identifies learners who are young carers normal procedure would involve the student providing some sort of evidence (usually a GP letter) and then contacting Finance Office and the Department whenever they are off in relation to this to allow the college to authorise the absence. This would protect the funding for the young carers.
Young Carers Project: Western Isles
In partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Action for Children a young carers project is being piloted in Pointers Youth Café. The Young Carers Project will support the identification of young carers in the Lewis and Harris areas through a local advertising campaign, awareness raising in schools, colleges, youth groups and through the Pointers Youth café Facebook page. The project will provide advice about young carers rights, as well as supporting access to relevant services.
Young Carers Project: Stirling
Through the delivery of the 2011-12 Stirling Young Carers Rural Project, research found that the young carers consulted felt they faced additional issues such as lack of transport, lack of services, small, if any, shops, with little fresh produce to enable healthy eating, long school journeys and few leisure opportunities. Therefore, when developing a support plan for young carers identified, we will continue to ensure that we consider these barriers (complex issues that require attention on an individual basis) that the young carer may face, and put in place supports to prevent this from being a barrier to them accessing the appropriate support including respite short breaks
Information and training: Fife
Information and training for young carers. Health information is provided to young carers along with a variety of information and workshops (for example, First Aid) to help them cope with their caring role. We provide young carer awareness sessions for primary and secondary schools for pupils, teachers and other professionals. We developed an E learning resource which is now attached to the 'Getting it Right in Fife' website. The website for Fife Young Carers signposts young carers and their families to support. We also produce a quarterly newsletter. Young carers have improved access to advice and information and increased confidence and self-esteem. They have also have increased respite opportunities.
Email: Dawn Sungu