Young Carers Require More Attention

  • According to Coram's Children's Legal Centre (Child Protection Project), "Children and young people who look after a disabled, mentally ill or substance abusing family member are considered young carers."

    Most young carers are oblivious of the fact that they are carers in the first instance and are left to fight their battles for too long.

    Their schools and health concerns becomes least important to them.

    Although, they may lonley, confused and scared but may not talk about this or reveal this to the public for the fear that they may be taken away from their families or the people they care for.

    The Guardian tells the story of a young carer:

    He only got support when he was 16, six years after he had cared for his disabled parents.

    His dad has had a heart problem for the past 18 years and his mom not only suffered depression but has had 33 different operations on different parts of her body.

    He is also an only child.

    Even as his parents saw their GP's most weeks; they had attended parent's meetings armed with sticks and crutches, he was still unnoticed; no one had asked if ne needed help.

    He was put in touch with his local young careres' project and that marked the beginning of a change in his situation.

    Prior to that time, he had no idea that he was a young carer and was not offered any help.

    His academics and other aspects of his life had suffered strain; however, after he got help, by the end of year 10, his attendance was up to 90% and by the next year, it was a 100%. He then proceeded to Cambridge to study Law.

    However, this is not usually the case for lots of young carers; they often go unnoticed.

    There is the need for schools to give more attention to these young carers by identifying them and suggesting and implementing ways to best support them, like:

    Being available to talk to them in an understanding manner and counsel them,

    Giving them an extra day to complete their homeworks.

    In terms of support, there should not be a friction between the carer and the supporting service, in a situation whereby they are members of the same family.

    Services should also work together to render a family approach to these young people, they deserve to have the opportunity to grow up as full time children as opposed to being full time carers.

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