Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Who should support young carers?

I felt very sorry for the young carers featured on BBC Breakfast this morning, but my compassion was tempered by anticipation of the BBC's angle.

You just know that this wasn't an effort to encourage true (voluntary) charity to support these young people. Sure enough, here's the corresponding article on BBC News:
The four UK Children's Commissioners (one each for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) said, in a joint statement, that young carers are "often caught in the middle of a well-meaning muddle".

It said they can miss out on vital support and called on governments at Westminster and in the nations to "properly identify and meet the needs of young carers, so that this largely invisible and often vulnerable group can get the support they need."

The Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham said it was "absolutely crucial" that young carers were identified and supported.

He warned that "ill-thought-through reforms" in health and education could result in "disjointed and fragmented local services".

Other campaigners are worried young carers' services are being cut by councils and other bodies trying to rein in the country's debt after the recession.

The National Young Carers Coalition says there should be no cuts for services that support young carers, "so that they are not forced into caring roles that are inappropriate and damaging to their health and wellbeing".

Ms Teather said the government wanted to help.

Its new strategy, to be launched later this year "makes it clear that everyone working with young people and their families, including GPs and teachers, must do more to identify and support young carers," she said.

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