Report of the Strategic Director, Children, People and Families
Committee received a report on the Young Carers Service. It was reported that this is one element of a three-part Carers contract which started in May 2019. Carers Trust Tyne and Wear were awarded the contract to support young carers aged under 18 years.
It was noted that in the first two quarters of the contract, 50 referrals were received from a number of sources. There were more females than males, with a 31 – 19 split. In terms of ages there were some referrals made for carers as young as 5 years old. The biggest cohort of young carers are within the ages of 8 and 13 years old.
At the end of quarter two there was a total of 400 young carers receiving support. 351 of these were receiving active support, this is frequent and activity based. 30 young carers were receiving short term support, which is quick intervention and advice. 19 of the young carers were receiving non active support, this is where they have been registered but are not undertaking any intervention support. It was noted that a number of young people are signed up but there has been difficulty in engaging them.
A number of interventions are offered to young carers. In the first two quarters these interventions included; group activities, drop in sessions, peer support, one to one emotional support, Expert Young Carers Group and in-house training in such things as cookery skills. The aim of the interventions is to give young carers an opportunity for a break and to meet other young carers, to gain experience in new skills and tackle new challenges.
It was noted that some young people do not see themselves as carers and therefore proactive work is underway through schools and social media to contact as many potential young carers as possible. Awareness raising is also done through leaflets and talks at other agencies.
It was questioned what things young people were doing in terms of caring for their parents. It was noted that this varies and referrals are made to Adult Social Care to look at what other services can be put in place. The service works with the family as a whole. It was acknowledged that partnership working is at the core of the contract.
It was reported that the service does not work in isolation and allows for a full young carer assessment so that interventions can be tailored for individual needs.
The cost of the contract for the first year is £200,000, of which the Council pays 39% and the CCG 61%. This amount decreases over the five year duration of the contract. Committee was concerned about this decreasing funding, it was felt that this is saving the Council work and therefore it made no sense to reduce funding to it. It was confirmed that the contract will continue to be reviewed, a quality assessment has started and this will be carried out annually.
It was questioned whether there is a contingency plan for the later years of the contract when the funding has decreased. It was noted that the specification is written to expect more young carers will come into the service and as Carers Trust Tyne and Wear is a registered charity it will monitor spend and bids are being made for a number of grants.
The point was raised that some young carers will be in households dependent on Universal Credit and it was questioned whether this is feeding into the work of the service. It was confirmed that if any household was suspected to be in financial difficulty the service would follow this up through the multi-agency group.
Further information was requested on the savings that the service makes to the Council. It was agreed that officers would look into what analysis was carried out when the contract was being drawn up and report back.
It was questioned whether there are any trends with the number of young carers. It was reported that the youngest carers are between 5 and 7 year olds, this cohort makes up 10-15% of the 400 young carers. Support plans are tailored to each young person depending on their circumstances and there is a reliance on providers to ensure the support caters for all young carers. It was also noted that the number of young carers is increasing and it is expected that this trend will continue as this will also be linked to the promotion and marketing of the service.
It was queried whether there is any time limit for working with each child. It was confirmed that there is nothing prescribed in terms of the length of time that the service can work with a young carer. An assessment must be done within 28 days of referral and support plans are regularly reviewed. It was noted that it is a very fluid service with some young carers leaving the service and then returning at a later date.
It was requested that this report be brought back to Committee on an annual basis.
RESOLVED - That the Committee noted the content of the report.