The guide, Know Your Rights: Support for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers in England, aims to encourage those caring for a sick or disabled family member or friend to take matters into their own hands to ensure they receive the right assessment and support from their local authority.
The Know Your Rights guide comes as a response to the worryingly low number of young carers who received an assessment of their needs under previous legislation — only 22% according to Carers Trust's research.
Identifying and assessing young carers
In April this year the Children and Families Act and Care Act committed English local authorities to ensuring carers are identified, offered an assessment and, where appropriate, ensure that the necessary support structures are in place to protect and promote their mental health and wellbeing.
English councils are now required by law to identify and assess young carers under 18.
Carers Trust is concerned that despite the new legislation, not enough is happening on the ground to ensure the needs of young adult and young carers are being met, especially since not all young carers are in touch with services who can help and support them to know and access their rights.
Empowering young people
Laura Bennett, co-author of the publication and Policy Manager for young carers and young adult carers at Carers Trust, says:
"It is hugely concerning that a large number of young adult carers and young carers in England don't know about their right to an assessment of their needs, as we know those who are not adequately supported can face challenges that have a lasting impact on their future.
Without an assessment, thousands of young carers could be taking on inappropriate and excessive levels of care without the support and help that they badly need.
"We are hoping that this leaflet will empower young people to find out their rights and ask for their own assessment if they recognise that they are a young adult carer or young carer.
"In light of the new legislation local councils must step up their game and help young adult and young carers in this country who are picking up much of the work of our health and underfunded social care sector."
Explaining rights to younger carers
Helpfully divided into sections, the guide explains rights for younger carers, their rights when moving into adulthood and rights for young adult carers.
Representatives from Carers Trust policy team will be hosting a chatroom Q&A with young carers on Babble on Monday 16 November at 4.15pm, to answer questions young carers may have about the subject areas covered by the guide.