Agenda item

Young Carers.


The Committee received a report of the Director of Children and Family Services on Young Carers which outlined the work taking place to identify, assess and support young carers across Leicestershire. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


At this point of the meeting, Mrs. M. E. Newton CC declared a non-registerable interest in this item as she had historically been a member of the Loughborough Young Carers Research Group.


Arising from the discussion, the following points were made:


i.        A member raised concerns about the impact of caring for a family member on a young person’s health and, in particular, their mental health.  A member sought reassurance that the Service was confident it was doing enough to support them and to encourage them to come forward. Members agreed that young carers were often the hidden face of community care and that the pandemic had made the position more difficult. The Director assured members that good support was provided to those known to the Service. However, it was recognised that many remained unidentified and there were some who did not wish to be identified.


ii.       The Service relied on schools to report early indications that a young person might be caring for a family member. Members were pleased to hear that schools were proactive in making referrals, and that each school across Leicestershire had a Young Carers Champion.


iii.     It was suggested that young carers often did not consider themselves to be a ‘young carer’, or they or their family may be apprehensive of assessment and unsure of the support available. The Lead Member said it was well recognised within the Service that young carers were often anxious and sometimes scared that they might be taken into care if they came forward. A whole family approach was therefore critical. The Director emphasised that there were a range of support options that could be delivered but a key role of the Service was to help young people understand their position and identify what their needs might be.


iv.     Encouraging unknown carers to come forward was a challenge. However, the Director explained that work was being undertaken with the Council’s communications team to target young people to make themselves known to the Service or in school, for example. It would also continue to work closely with schools, partners and the community. 


v.      A member suggested that further consideration should be given to how the Council might better incentivise young people to engage with the Service. Members noted that respite services were offered to young carers whereby they could engage with one another and take part in enjoyable activities outside of the home. Some young carers within the Youth and Justice Service had assisted in recruitment panels to contribute their influence in the Service and had helped them to gain skills from preparing questions and activities for the panel. The Director undertook to consider how these and other incentives could be promoted and the benefits of the support packages available for young carers that came forward.


vi.     It was noted that young carers would be supported through the Children and Family Wellbeing Service which would carry out an initial assessment to produce a support package which addressed the specific needs of the young person and their family, subject to any safeguarding issues being identified.  A Section 20 agreement, whereby a child would be brought into Local Authority care, would only be considered if it was deemed necessary for the welfare of the child.  Usually, a family centred approach would be used.  However, a group work offer would be considered and could include access to other universal services.




(a)    That the report and details of the work taking place to identify, assess and support young carers across Leicestershire be noted and welcomed.


(b)    That the Director of Children and Family Services be requested to consider how the Service might better incentivise currently unidentified young carers to come forward, engage with the Service and make use of the support available to them.


Supporting documents: