There are many children and young people in Hampshire who are young carers. You may look after a parent who is ill, disabled, or who is addicted to drugs or alcohol or you may assist the rest of the family when your parent isn’t able to, or give up your time to help your parents look after a disabled brother or sister.
There is help available for you as a young carer. There are independent support groups – called young carer projects - in some areas of Hampshire which provide help, advice and information and also have club nights where you can meet other children and young people like yourself who are caring for someone in their family.
Young Carers website - help and guidance in Hampshire
As a young person providing care to someone you love, you are entitled to have an assessment yourself to see whether any help can be given to you as a carer. As caring may be shared in a family, it is the right of any one of those carers to request their own assessment under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000. This includes you as a young carer.
An assessment may sound scary but if a social worker or health visitor or other professional visits your home to see the person you care for, talk to them first and tell them you would like an assessment of your own needs. They will then speak to the right people and arrange for an assessment to happen. You can take a friend or other family member or adult with you for moral support if you wish.
As a young carer you should always have your views taken into consideration when someone assesses the needs of the person you care for.
If there are no professionals coming into your home, you can visit your local Children's Services department and ask to have an assessment as a Young Carer.
A young carer is a person under the age of 18 years who provides care for another person, most commonly a parent or brother or sister, because that person has an illness or disability, mental health problem or problems with addiction to alcohol or drugs.
The 2001 Census showed that there are 3,300 young people in Hampshire in this situation and many may feel alone or isolated and unable to talk to anyone about their situation. Talking to another young person can often help.
There is lots of information to help young carers. Hampshire has many projects and support groups. To find out about projects in your area please look at the 'project' section under 'H' and 'Hampshire' in the 'Young Carers Initiative' website (part of the Children's Society):
Many families where someone is disabled or ill will be worried that contact with the authorities might lead to interference, or worse still, being told what they can and cannot do. You should have nothing to fear, both health and social services are there to help you as a family and to do everything they can to support you.