County failing its young carers”, admitted a senior Council Officer at Tuesday’s Children’s Services Cabinet Panel.
The County Council has estimated that there could be as many as 9000 young people who have to look after one or more of their parents, and of these 1200 have significant needs.
Of these 9000 young people who look after their parent(s), the County has been in contact with just 8% (727) and less than 2% (159) are being actively supported. Thousands of young Carers in Hertfordshire are being let down by the Conservative run County Council.
The number of carers being referred to the County Council through schools, Mental Health Services, Youth Connexions and other services is dropping alarmingly, with 15 being referred in April 2013 but only 3 being referred in December 2013.
Young carers have virtually no private life as their out of school time is often taken up with cleaning, cooking, and sometimes bathing and providing personal care for their parents. There is support available for children and families in this predicament but it cannot be provided if the authorities are unaware of the family situation.
County Councillor Mark Watkin, opposition spokesperson for Children’s Services commented “The Conservative run County Council is badly failing these children and young people who are sacrificing their lives for the needs of their family.
“Many of these children are in families receiving benefits, or are looking for work, having housing problems or facing other challenging circumstances, but it has done nothing to make staff and management in these agencies aware of these children’s plight and what can be done to help them. It is inexcusable.”