Councils are not doing enough for young carers, says Ofsted


Councils are not doing enough to support young carers, according to a new report by the government’s education and children’s services watchdog.
Ofsted’s Supporting Young Carers report, which surveyed eight council areas across England, also found that local authorities are not doing enough to identify children and young people who care for disabled parents and siblings.
The report pointed to a lack of awareness by professionals, a failure of agencies to work together, and a reluctance by some families to approach councils for help, because they fear their parenting skills will be questioned and their family broken up.
Although four of the eight councils have drawn up a strategy on young carers, seven do not consistently take the child’s views into account when assessing their parent’s impairment.
The report also found that carers under the age of 16 are often unaware of their right to request their own assessment by the council.
Christine Gilbert, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said: “It is unacceptable that for most young carers no assessment of their own needs was conducted by children’s social care professionals.”
The report said that young carers projects, which offer services such as advice, counselling and short breaks, were often viewed by the young people who used them as “essential to their well-being”, although many had waiting lists.
The report called on the government to work with councils to estimate the numbers of young carers, and to share good practice.
Meanwhile, the children’s commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, has launched a report partly written by young Welsh carers.
Full of Care found that more than a third of young carers believe their opinions are not respected by others, and that more than half feel they have’t been able to cope during the previous week. More than half say they only receive support in a crisis.
Towler’s recommendations include: suggesting the Welsh government considers drawing up a young carers strategy and issuing ID cards to young carers; and calling on local councils to assess young carers’ needs, not expect them to perform inappropriate tasks, and consider making leisure opportunities more available to them.

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