Support for young carers
Telling people about your situation can get you help and support with caring if you need it.
You won’t be taken into care
The only reason we ever take people away from their families is because at that time, it is too dangerous for them to live at home. Caring for someone does not in itself put you in danger. We’ll do everything we can to make your caring role easier and help your family stay together.
The person you care for won’t get into trouble
Adults have the right to live the way they want to as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. Even if the person you’re caring for is doing something illegal, such as taking drugs, we’re more interested in helping you than in getting them into trouble. There is a lot of help available for the person you are caring for, and by telling us about your situation, you are helping them too.
We respect your privacy
You have a right to privacy. We’ll always ask your permission before we speak to anyone else about your situation. Everyone who works with children and young people is bound by this rule.
We would only talk about you to someone else without your permission if we feel that you’re in danger, and even then we would try to get in touch with you first.
We can help you if people treat you differently
We know that young carers are worried that they will be bullied if people find out. However, we also know that people who bully others often do so because they feel the person they are bullying is ‘strange’ or ‘different’. The more young carers who come forward and are open about who they are, the less likely they are to be bullied. If you do find that you are getting bullied, there are lots of things we can do to help.
Who you can talk to
There are lots of people you can speak to about being a young carer.
Young carer’s lead in school
This person, usually a teacher, has special training in young carer’s issues, and knows how to get help and support for you, both in school and at home.
If you don’t have a young carer’s lead in your school, talk to an adult you trust who could be a learning mentor, learning support assistant, support worker or a teacher.
Education Welfare Officer
If you’re having trouble getting to school, you may already have an Education Welfare Officer. It’s very important that you explain your situation to them.
If you don’t tell them the reason and give them the opportunity to sort things out, your parent may get into trouble.
It’s against the law for children to regularly miss school, and there are fines, and even imprisonment, for parents whose child doesn’t attend school.
Education Welfare Officers can help you with school attendance but you need to be honest with them.
Young Carers Support Centre
You can contact the Young Carers Support Centre using their online form.
They can help you with:
- getting support for you and your family
- talking to someone
- meeting with other young carers
- breaks for you from caring
They also run the Young Carers Voice. This is group that can help you have your views heard in Bristol.
If you’re helping to care for a brother or sister who hasn’t started school yet, let the health visitor know about your caring responsibilities.
The health visitor will need to include you in discussions about your younger brother and sister, because you’re one of the carers.
They’re specially trained to help families when they have health issues, and are experienced in getting help for families in need.
You can contact your health visitor by ringing your doctor’s surgery or health centre.
Doctors and nurses
If you're worried about your own health, or the health of the person you care for, you can speak to a doctor or GP.
Tell the doctor or nurse that you're a young carer so they can understand how to help you.
School nurses visit schools and are happy to speak with you about any health worries.
If the person you’re caring for goes to hospital, you have a right to know what’s happening, and to be included in discussions about that person.
Hospital staff will also be able to find people who can help you with any problems you may be having. Talk to a nurse on the ward, and they’ll be able to help.
Children’s social workers
Often, young carers need a social worker if they have a lot of different problems that all come together at once. If this is the case for you, you can telephone your local Duty Team and speak to them.
When you ring the Duty Team, you should say that you want to ‘make a referral’, and you will be put through to a Referral and Information Assistant.
They will ask you for basic information about yourself:
- your name
- your address
- your age
- your school
Then they will ask you about the problems you are having
Once they have taken all the details, they’ll pass them along to the Duty Social Worker, who’ll get in touch with you to talk about things.
You should ring the social work team that covers the area where you live.
Adult’s social workers
The adult you care for might already have their own social worker. They can work with other professionals who are helping you, like a children’s social worker or a health visitor.
If the person you care for has a social worker, make sure that they know you are a carer.
Contact Adult Social Care
You can contact us directly by calling 0117 922 2700. Tell the person that you would like to make a referral about the adult you care for. You should also have the person's permission before you make a referral about them.
You can also phone us for advice and information about the sort of things that could be available for your family.
Young carer's youth groups
There are youth groups in Bristol where you can relax and meet other young people who are carers.
You can find these groups on the Rife Guide website.