We receive referrals from individuals, family members and professionals (including social workers, medical professionals and school-based staff). We ask referrers to complete a short form with as much information about the Carer and cared-for person as possible (seeking consent where appropriate). The completed referral form helps to give us an overview of the young person’s caring role, including any specific needs they and/or their family may have related to this role.
Once cases are allocated, our Family Support Workers make contact with families to arrange an initial assessment. This assessment can take place at the family home or at school and consists of two evidence-based tools that assess the level of caring and its impact on the child/young person.
Our assessment is ‘holistic’ and is focussed both on the needs of the Young Carer and family as a whole.
Outcome of Initial Assessment
1. If the initial assessment finds a low level of concern, we are mostly likely to decide that no intervention is required from our service at this time. We will give information and advice to the Young Carer, their family, school and other professionals working with them as appropriate. We might ask other services to help the Young Carer and/or other family members, and we may also ask schools to give more help or make reasonable adjustments which would make life easier for the Young Carer.
We will inform the Young Carers, their parents/guardians and referrers of the outcome of the initial assessment and that we will be closing the case. The Young Carer will remain registered as a Young Carer our database so they can be contacted in the future to inform them of any activities or services which may be of interest to them. They will also be able to contact us at anytime for information, advice and guidance specific to their caring role.
2. If the initial assessment shows a moderate to high level of concern (or finds that the young person would benefit from targeted support from our service) the Young Carer will be offered a more focused detailed assessment (see below).
Detailed Assessment and Action Plan
This assessment serves to explore the caring role and its impact in greater depth and helps us to devise an action plan for the young person. This action plan identifies the outcomes they want to achieve, the support we will give to them and their family to help them. This intervention will last up to three months, or could finish sooner if there is less work to do.
Support offered to Young Carers will be 1:1 or in small groups and can take place at home or at school, and may include:
- Sessions to talk through issues, difficulties or worries related to their caring role
- Support to help overcome challenges to enable them to balance caring with their own needs and personal goals
- Information on the condition of the person they care for and ways to support their care
- Information in rights as a Young Carer, and support to think about how much care they can give
- Addressing any inappropriate caring, and seeking the right support for other family members to reduce caring where appropriate
- Information on the range of support services available, so that they can get help when they need it
- Advocate on their behalf, attend meetings, write letters to other organisations and make sure their voice is heard in decisions about their family
- Help to find suitable activities outside of school so that they can have fun and a break from caring
- Accessing grants to buy essential items, or to cover the costs of some activities or equipment they need
We may also ask other services to provide more help and support to the Young Carer or other members of their family.
Following the three month intervention period, Young Carers are offered a review (which can take place with their allocated Family Support Worker face-to-face or over the phone). This review offers the Young Carer, their family and Carers Support Merton the opportunity to evaluate the success of the support we have offered – highlighting any changes to the caring role, and the individual’s (and family’s) situation.
If there is still work to do we can set an action plan for a further three months intervention. However, in practice we usually find we have given all of the information and advice we can, there are better support in place, and the Young Carer has developed some strategies to manage the things they were finding challenging. We will inform the Young Carer, family, and referrer that we have closed the case.
The Young Carer will remain registered on our database to receive information about services and activities which may interest them in the future. They can also contact us any time for information, advice and guidance in relation to their caring role.