Young Carers

Young Carers Guidance & Referral Process


This guidance explains how to identify, refer and provide appropriate support for Young Carers.

Young Carers are children under 18 who provide or intend to provide care for another person (usually a family member). The range and scale of caring varies greatly, not all children who have ill or disabled parents or siblings take on caring roles or when they do it causes them no difficulties.

Caring can involve lots of physical care including personal care, giving medicines and helping someone to dress or move around. It can be looking after siblings, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, shopping or translating. Some young carers give no physical care but provide emotional support, particularly for someone who has a mental health condition or misuses substances.

Anyone in contact with mental trust patients or family members should enquire about children and young people who may be involved with or potentially affected by the person with physical or mental health problems:

  • identify how affected they might be and consider what help is needed
  • evaluate how substantial their caring role is and referred to Young Carers service if appropriate.

A young carer becomes vulnerable when their caring role risks impacting upon their emotional or physical wellbeing or their prospects in education and life. This might include:

  • preventing the young carer from accessing education, for example because the adult’s needs for care and support result in the young carer’s regular absence from school or impacts upon their learning
  • preventing the young carer from building relationships and friendships
  • impacting upon any other aspect of the young carer’s wellbeing.

Information relating to the Adult Social Care identification of Young Carers can be found in the Adult Social Care - Young Carers Policy.

Referral process

For referrals to the Young Carers Service the Early Help Assessment form should be completed.  This can be down loaded from the Professional Choices website.

Referrals for Young Carers Assessments and support through the Early Help Assessment will be triaged via Somerset Direct. 

You can download the process to follow for all referrals for assessment for Young Carers Support (referrals need to meet the current Children Social Care Threshold Criteria).

Think Young Carer!

The Barnardo’s Young Carers Project ask we think about the following 10 messages next time we come into contact with children and young people.

  1. Introduce yourself – who are you, what is your job?
  2. Give us as much information as you can
  3. Tell us what is wrong with our parents
  4. Tell us what is going to happen next
  5. Talk and listen to us
  6. Ask us what we know and what we think – we live with our parents and know how they have been behaving
  7. Tell us it is not our fault – we feel really guilty when our mum or dad is ill.  We need to know we are not to blame
  8. Don’t ignore us – we are part of the family and live there too
  9. Keep on talking to us and keeping us informed
  10. Tell us if there is anyone we can talk to

Further Guidance and Information

Further Guidance and Information is available from the following sources:

  • Named Nurse or Named Doctor for Safeguarding Children, email or telephone 0300 323 0035
  • The Triangle of Care champion within your team
  • Carers’ Assessment Worker attached to your team

Information and Training is available on the Somerset Safeguarding Children Board website – this site has information for professionals, parents and children as well as updated information on multi agency training.

Resources for Young Carers

Somerset Partnership mental health Carers Service provides ‘Listen To Me!’ rucksacks for Young Carers which contain age-appropriate booklets and resources for young people caring for a family member or friend with mental health problems

The books that are available are:

  • Minds Myths and Me
  • The Wise Mouse
  • Safe Sorted and Supported
  • The Milk is in the Oven

These can be obtained directly from the Carers Service by contacting your Carers Assessment Worker or the Carers Development Manager

The Carers Trust website also provides information for young carers.