Information obtained by Carers Trust Scotland shows an alarming discrepancy among local authorities across Scotland regarding how they identify and support young carers. Through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, the charity has revealed that some local authorities are excelling in the support they provide, while others are providing little or no support.
The new research is revealed on the inaugural Young Carer’s Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness of young carers during Carers Week (9-15 June).
All local authorities were asked to provide information with all but one (East Dunbartonshire) responding. They were specifically asked to detail training provided to school staff to help them support young carers. A summary of findings is as follows:
- Only half (55%) deliver formal training to staff on young carers. Of these local authorities, 74% work in partnership with a young carers’ service to deliver this training.
- Only a third (32%) work with primary schools to provide information to staff and pupils.
- The majority (87%) of local authorities do something to help support or raise awareness of young carers in school.
Carers Trust Scotland has been involved in the development of a resource pack for all secondary schools in Scotland. The pack, which is a Scottish Government initiative, will be launched later this year. It will outline simple measures that schools can put in place to identify and support young carers effectively.
Florence Burke, Director of Carers Trust Scotland, said:
“This evidence reinforces what young carers have been telling us for a long time. Difficulties in school, a general lack of understanding about their situation and the impact this has on their education is an issue they bring up time and time again.
“We need consistency in good practice in identifying and supporting this vulnerable group of young people. Young carers are taking on roles normally expected of adults. They do tasks many of us would find physically or emotionally difficult. Alongside this they are coping with schoolwork and the ups and downs of adolescence.
“Carers centres and young carers’ services provide vital support and many of them work in partnership successfully with schools in their local area. However, schools need to start taking more responsibility to ensure more vulnerable young people are identified and supported. We hope that the introduction of the school resource pack will result in improved support in schools across all local authorities.”