The Children’s Society has created a new toolkit for professionals designed to help improve the support given to young carers as they move to adulthood.
The ‘Young carers transition to adulthood’ pathway tool acts as a ‘map’ for agencies, such as local councils, young carer organisations, schools and colleges, to follow so they can understand exactly what a young adult carer is, the effects their responsibilities may have on them and the help they are entitled to.
As part of the Care Act 2014, councils are required to offer all young carers a transition assessment which enables them to think about their future and the support they may need.
Our new tool sets out what a transitions assessment is and includes a number of recommendations for what should be included, such as:
- Professionals should take a whole family approach, to ensure everyone’s needs are met
- The assessments should be carried out before the young person turns 18, however the optimum age is between 14 and 16 when teenagers face many important decisions about their futures
- It should focus on ensuring the young adult carer can access higher education, employment and training without having to worry about the impact on the person they are caring for
- There should guidance around benefits and housing
- Mental health and wellbeing questions should always be included to make sure professionals know how the young adult carers are feeling
The pathway tool also includes sections on each key issue and helpful solutions that professionals can use to overcome these barriers. For example, one section is aimed at employers and how they can adopt a carer friendly workplace.
Helen Leadbitter is the national young carers lead at The Children’s Society, she said:
“For any young person growing up is a challenging time full of complex issues and big decisions. For young adult carers it can be even more challenging. It is vital they are provided with a holistic package of support so they can move forward with their lives without worrying about the impact it will have on the wider family.
“If done well, a transitions assessment is the ideal way to accomplish this. However we believe many councils still don’t provide them and sadly where they do, approaches and quality vary widely. This guide is designed to help professionals overcome these issues and raise awareness of not only this vital tool but also how best to carry them out.”
The Children’s Society was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. The charity worked in partnership to develop the pathway and ensure it will enable professionals to better support all young adult carers to improve their future prospects.
The Young carers transition to adulthood pathway tool along with other materials and research can be found here.