Top

Top

Agenda Item No.

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 20TH MARCH 2017

 

REFERENCE FROM HEALTHY LIVING AND SOCIAL CARE COMMITTEE: 13TH FEBRUARY 2017

 

 

“           YOUNG CARERS: ANNUAL UPDATE REPORT (DSS) –

 

The Interim Head of Business Management and Innovation presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Scrutiny Committee on support services for young carers.  For this item, the Committee also welcomed the Team Manager – Innovation and Information. 

 

Young Carers are defined as children and young people under the age of 18 who have caring responsibilities for someone who has a physical or mental illness, a physical or learning disability, or a drug or alcohol problem.  Carers aged 18 to 25 are often referred to as young adult carers.

 

During 2015/16 reports showed that 50 young carers accessed the Project (although numbers fluctuated), 15 of these received one to one support in the home.  22 young carers gained skills and a certificate by attending a sailing residential course.  Evaluations show that 87% of recipients gave positive feedback in relation to the informal respite.

 

In the quarter ending 31st December, 2016, 49 young carers attended the Project and 31 respite opportunities were accessed.  1 to 1 support was provided to two young carers, which in the main related to emotional wellbeing.  The RBA report for the month end showed 36 individuals accessed at least one activity per month and the activities offered rated as 95% positively received.

 

Under the auspices of the former Carers (Wales) Strategy Measure, staff from Social Services and the Health Board had started work with youth engagement workers from both the Vale and Cardiff, along with Cardiff YMCA, to consult with young carers.  The purpose was to identify the information and support needs of young carers.

 

Twelve young people volunteered to be involved in the planning of a wider consultation, to include preparing and delivering a questionnaire, followed by an information event and workshop to identify outcomes for statutory services to consider.  The survey of young carers known to the YMCA and Action for Children achieved 102 responses from a potential 210 respondents and 45 young carers attended the “Speak Out” event.

 

The “Speak Out” event consisted of a series of creative data-generation workshops that provided the opportunity for the young carers to give their opinions and relate their personal experiences.  This was combined with an information market place where the young people found out about support available and sample activities such as healthy cooking and first aid.  Entertainment was provided in the form of live music and a play area (for younger children) and a photobooth.

 

Analysis of the survey and workshops was undertaken by Cascade, the Children's social care research and development centre at Cardiff University.  The report was made available at the end of April 2016 for consideration by the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Councils and University Health Board (Appendix 1).

 

Subsequently, meetings had been held to bring together interested parties for the purpose of considering what the Council could do to meet the recommendations arising from the report.

 

A working group was convened including representatives from social services, health, safeguarding, youth work and Third Sector organisations working with young carers.  This working group was currently finalising a work plan outlining how the recommendations would be achieved.  These 16 proposals would be discussed with young carers, seeking their views as to whether the proposed actions would meet the outcomes they had identified through this work.

 

Possible actions included the development of a young carer’s card and the development of age appropriate information.  A second meeting of the reconfigured Young Carers group had been held on 12th January, 2017, looking at the outcomes from the Carers Consultation.  An action plan was being drafted and would be presented to the group for sign off by the end of January.

 

In regard to the young carers card specifically, it was agreed that a Task and Finish Group would meet before the end of February to put together a more detailed plan for implementation.  This would oversee a phased introduction of a (voluntary) ID card.  The working group would consist of safeguarding leads from Cardiff and the Vale, the Vale Youth Participation Officer, a member of the Patient Experience Team (Cardiff and Vale University Health Board) and a Cardiff YMCA representative.  Some initial considerations of the Task and Finish Group would include agreed criteria, design and production and whether there needed to be different cards for different age groups – this would be a short term piece of work. 

 

Longer term goals for this initiative included identifying and negotiating “benefits” to link to the card, incentives for young carers to sign up to having such a card, awareness / recognition of card (who and why), ongoing maintenance of the systems and administration, renewal process (annually etc.).

 

A young carer had been invited to speak at the Vale Youth Forum AGM to talk about their own situation and the impact of caring.  The presentation raised awareness amongst the young people attending and had informed the Youth Forum Action Plan for 2017/18.

 

The suggestion to introduce a card, to identify a young carer to staff and officers they come into contact with, initiated from the Youth Forum presentation and was included in the draft work plan of the Young Carers Working Group.  The original idea from the Youth Forum was to use the card to identify a young carer in a school setting if, for example, a carer was late due to their caring role or was unable to meet other deadlines such as for homework.  A need for emergency travel in circumstances where the cared for was hospitalised was also highlighted as a potential use.

 

Discussion at the Working Group identified other situations where a Young Carer identification card could be used, for example when prescriptions were collected from the Pharmacy and to assist in the sharing of information during the transition between Primary and Secondary School.  The Working Group would look into the feasibility of all these suggestions, and continue working closely with the Youth Forum.

 

The Welsh Government had made available Transitional Funding of £10,776 for young carers in 2016/17, with an equal amount in 2017/18, which was enabling the Council to deliver some of the actions in the final work plan.

 

This funding had been provided to support: 

  • Strengthening of the partnership approach at a local level;
  • Creating opportunities to enable the Third Sector to fully participate in the delivery;
  • Setting out how the Council intended to plan and deliver the increased responsibilities for health and the new responsibilities for Local Authorities;
  • Ensuring transitional funding was used as the means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers’ needs, so it was common practice. 

The Transitional Funding had been used to finance Carers Trust South East Wales to introduce a Young Carers Accreditation Scheme to secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The scheme aimed to raise awareness of young carers within education settings and provide additional information and support.  It was encouraging to note that there had been an excellent response to approaches from Carers Trust, with nearly all Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools replying to a survey on existing support and five indicating their interest in participation in the Accreditation.

 

Transitional Funding for the next financial year would be used to support Vale of Glamorgan Secondary schools to achieve the award and look to extend the scheme to primary schools.

 

One of the stated purposes of the Transitional Funding is that it was used as a means to embed the practice of mainstreaming carers’ needs, so it was common practice.  Sustainability had therefore been an integral consideration in all young carers’ initiatives utilising this funding.

 

Young Carers were also benefitting from the new Carers Support Officer (CSO) role in Children and Young People Services.  A part-time CSO had commenced work to provide support to both Parent Carers and Young Carers in respect of their information and assessment needs.  To date 11 young carers had been assessed, which was a significant improvement from previous years.  Work was ongoing to ensure young carers were identified, referred and assessed appropriately for the targeted information and support the Council had in place and signposted to community information, services and support.

 

The Chairman queried whether the service had been able to reach the majority of young carers in the Vale of Glamorgan.  In reply, the Team Manager (Innovation and Information) stated that this was difficult to tell but figures from the latest census showed that, on a national basis, one in twelve of the school population was a young carer.  A school survey conducted showed that the number of young carers was being under-reported but it was important to recognise that some children would not choose to be known as a young carer.  The current approach was to raise awareness, particularly within schools and among teachers and adults, about the impact of the caring role on young children and the need for proper support to be made available.  This was being progressed in a number of ways which included the Carers Trust -South East Wales scheme rolling out an accreditation system which was being targeted within schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Another area of work was related to the level of information available to young carers and the means by which they would be signposted to support services.  For this, the key aspect was partnership working and creating a joint and consistent approach, as well as identifying individual approaches that could help.

 

In referring to the recommendations within the Cascade Report on page 36 of the Appendix, the Chairman queried whether it was the intent for these recommendations to be implemented.  In reply, the Team Manager (Innovation and Information) stated that no judgement on this had yet been made but the report by Cascade would be shared widely across the Vale of Glamorgan and so various networks would be aware of the recommendations. 

 

A Committee Member, referring to the one in twelve of the school population who could be regarded as a young carer, stated that on average this would be between 75 to 100 children at a secondary school.  He queried whether the £11,000 provided by Welsh Government was sufficient to meet the demands of the service.  In reply, the Team Manager stated that the service hoped to build on what it currently had in place and had been quite successful in doing so.  The key aim was to make staff aware of the issues and she referred to the role of welfare officers in schools who would be able to identify specific trigger points.  She added that some young carers would openly divulge their carer’s role while some were more reluctant to seek help and support.  She also stated that some children would declare their role as a carer when in primary school; whilst it had also been identified that many older children in secondary school would be more reluctant to come forward.  The Committee also noted that the school information management system had been updated in order to better capture information on young carers. 

 

The Committee asked for an update in relation to the consultation that was being undertaken with the Cardiff and Vale Youth Forum.  In reply, Members were advised that the Cascade Report had been translated to make it young person friendly and had been shared at the Young Carers Awareness Day.  From this, an action plan which included 20 recommendations had been devised, although this had yet to be finalised. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the work undertaken to support young carers in the Vale of

Glamorgan be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that Members continued to exercise effective oversight of an important function undertaken by the Social Services Directorate.

 

(2)       At the request of the former Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to receive the report on an annual basis.”

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee: 13th February, 2017

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook