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Virtual School and Equalities Learning Team - Young Carers

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What is a Young Carer?

The term "Young Carer" should be taken to include young people aged between  5 to 18 years of age, who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses drugs / alcohol

We are proud of the children and young people who are carers in Cumbria.  In Cumbria it is estimated  that there are approximately 3,378 Young Carers across the County.  897 of these children are known to Children's Service.  All of these  young people are supported in their caring role and have an individual support plan that is tailor made to meet their needs.  We must also be mindful that these figures may not recognise young people who may care for an adult with mental health issues or substance misuse difficulties.

Children's Service Virtual School have published a Memorandum of Understanding between Children's and Health Care Services.  This MOU provides a clear direction to services that they should adapt a "whole family" approach in order to support young  carers and their families.  The guidance reflects current national policy and is intended to promote working together between Children's Services, Health and Care Services and offers an enhanced basis for working in partnership with Health , Education and Third Sector parties

Memorandum of understanding - Working together to support Young Carers

Working Together - Summary


Schools and Young Carers

Ofsted's Schools Inspection Handbook framework states: "Inspection is primarily about evaluating how well individual pupils benefit from their school.  It is important to test the school's response to individual needs by observing how well it helps all pupils to make progress and fulfil their potential." It includes young carers as those with protected characteristics whose achievements it may be relevant to pay particular attention to. (Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook,September 2014, No 120101)

"We believe that all children and young people should have equal access to education, regardless of what is happening at home and that no child should have to take on inappropriate or excessive caring responsibilities"

Research shows that young carers often fare less well than their peers in education, may be subject to bullying , suffer isolation  and more likely to experience poverty. It is recognised that schools can offer significant support to young cares.  A Model  School Policy is available for Schools  and we would urge all Schools to have a Young Carers Policy in place with a named designated person in school

School policy

Useful links

  • Carers Trustthis external link will open in a new window

  • Further information on Carers in Cumbria can be found on the Cumbria County Council website under Adult Social Care: Carers