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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). For Textphone dial 18001 followed by the advice line number. Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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What should a young carers assessment look at and decide?

The assessment must decide whether support is needed. It should decide whether the young carer’s support needs will be addressed if services are provided to:

  • The person cared for, or
  • Another member of the young carer’s family AND
  • Whether the young carer is a child in need.

The assessment should look into the care the young person is providing. This includes:

  • How much caring the young person is doing
  • What kind of care the young person is providing
  • How much care they may provide in the future
  • How much the family (including wider family) rely on the young carer to look after the person cared for
  • Whether the young carer’s wellbeing, education or development are being affected.

The assessment should look carefully at what kind of things are being done by the young carer. And whether they are ‘excessive or inappropriate’.

What kinds of caring responsibilities might be ‘excessive or inappropriate’?

To work out whether caring tasks are excessive or inappropriate, children’s services should take into account all the circumstances. This will include the young carers:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Wishes and feelings.

For example, it may be that it is appropriate for an older child or teenage to undertake some caring tasks that a much younger child should not be doing.

Children’s services will look at the impact that the caring tasks have on the child’s wellbeing.
Government guidance called ‘Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2016’ says “A young carer becomes vulnerable when their caring role risks impacting upon their emotional or physical wellbeing and their prospects in education and life.”

When carrying out the assessment children’s services must take account of:

  • The young carer’s age and understanding
  • Their family circumstances
  • The wishes and feelings of the young carer
  • Any differences of opinion between the young carer, their parents and the person cared for, about the care which the young carer provides (or intends to provide); and
  • What the young carer wants to get from the assessment.

The assessment must consider the young person’s support needs

Children’s services must consider whether the young carer:

  • Has support needs
  • Has any other kind of need
  • What those needs are

Whether the young person would still need support even if they no longer had any caring duties, or if their caring duties were reduced.

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