Some children may have extra care responsibilities at home, supporting a family member with physical or emotional needs. This can sometimes be because of a sudden illness, accident or disabilities.
Taking on the role of carer can affect a child’s everyday life. A young person in this situation needs extra support and understanding from the adults around them and there are a range of service that may be able to support you and your family in Sefton.
You or the child may not realise that they are a young carer
Meet some of Sefton's young carers in this video
Who Can Be A Young Carer?
Your child may be a young carer if they:
- Are under 18.
- Help to look after a sibling, parent, relative or friend who may have a disability, illness, mental health condition or drug or alcohol problem.
- If the child is between 18 and 25, they are a young adult carer.
Signs Of Being A Young Carer
It’s not always obvious that a child is a young carer. They may not appear to be caring directly for the family member or friend in need. Instead, they might take on extra chores, or provide support and practical help to other family members.
What Young Carers Do?
- Cooking for the family.
- Cleaning the house.
- Doing the laundry and other household chores.
- Getting someone dressed in the morning or ready for bed.
- Feeding family members.
- Looking after siblings – for example, by taking them to school, helping with homework or playing with them.
- Collecting and giving medications.
- Managing family finances.
- Making phone calls to GPs and other professionals.
- Filling out forms and applications.
- Providing a listening ear.
- Helping to keep everyone safe.
A young carer may not do all these activities, and a child doing some of these things will not always be a young carer. Many children will take on chores as an everyday part of family life, which can support learning and independence, but working beyond this may mean a child is a young carer.
Impact Of Being A Young Carer
- Have less time for school and homework.
- Struggle to concentrate in school.
- Spend less time meeting friends and joining in with social activities.
- Feel unable to do things their peers are doing, such as going on family holidays or having friend’s round.
- Feel they are different or that they’re missing out.
- Be bullied for being different or not joining in.
- Worry about their home life or someone at home.
- Be alert for danger and find it difficult to relax.
- Wonder whether they’ll be able to start work or continue their education.
- Feel tired and worn out.
- Feel low, anxious and alone.
A child or young person may also develop new skills from a caring role. This can include more empathy for others, better communication, and learning how to advocate on behalf of someone with care needs.
Assessment and Support for Sefton Young Carers
If you are aged between 5 and 17 years of age and looking after someone in your family who couldn’t manage without you, then you are one of the 4,000 or more young carers that we estimate live in Sefton.
Help is available
If you would like to talk to someone, please contact a member of the Sefton Young Carers team on 0151 288 6060.