Glasgow Social Work services have said that continued budget cuts will make it difficult to support the number of carers and young carers in the city. Hundreds of young carers have been identified in the city over the last year. In total, 3200 new carers were identified over the last year, 300 of whom were children or young people.
Social Work bosses were giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament Health Committee on the Scottish Government’s plans for a Carers Bill. Under the terms of the Bill, each carer identified by local authorities will be entitled to a Carer’s Support Plan.
Concerns were raised over the inclusion in the Bill of even very young children as carers. Fred Becke,t from GCC Social Work Services, described this as unacceptable, saying that “A child under school age taking on a caring role is not a very good indictment of our society.”
The Committee also heard concerns over some of the most vulnerable young carers, who are supporting adults with mental health problems or addictions, while the local authority is unaware. It was said that more agencies had to take on the responsibility to alert the Council to a situation where a child or young person has, or is likely to have, a caring role. The NHS, for example, would be well placed to identify a potential young carer following a diagnosis of a long-term, disabling condition such as MS or Motor Neurone Disease.
Being a young carer can be isolating and can affect the life chances of children and young people, who may not have the time to devote to studying for schoolwork, or to play with friends. While not all children and young people will be adversely affected by their role, for some the responsibility they carry can also affect their mental health and emotional wellbeing. The intention of the Bill in relation to young carers is to ensure that identified young people have the support that they need to have a proper childhood and ensure that their caring role does not affect their future life chances.
Source: Evening Times