Today, March 16th, is Young Carers Action Day.
Carers Trust Scotland is calling on Scottish Government to commit to developing a new cross-cutting National Action Plan to protect the futures of children and young people with caring responsibilities.
A recent Carers Trust Scotland survey revealed high levels of anxiety and stress among young carers. The survey found over two thirds (71%) of young carers aged 12 to 17, and 85% of young adult carers aged 18 to 25 were experiencing increased concern for their futures since Coronavirus.
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Carer’s Trust Scotland say that to address these challenges, Scottish Government’s National Action Plan should include clear actions that can be delivered at pace. They should address education, employability and health and wellbeing prospects among young people with caring responsibilities.
Louise Morgan, Director of Carers Trust Scotland said:
“It is important on Young Carer Action Day to highlight the additional challenges young carers have experienced as result of the pandemic and think about their futures.
“It is vital that Scottish Government introduces a new National Action Plan which is ambitious and ensures young carers in Scotland have the support that they need and are given a fair chance to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives.”
To Protect Young Carers’ Futures and help make a National Action Plan for young carers a reality, Carers Trust Scotland is working with young carers across Scotland to ask statutory bodies to make meaningful commitments to deliver young carers’ rights across health, social care, education and employment.
Speaking about her hopes for Young Carers Action Day, Ilse Cuthbertson a young carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Carers Trust Scotland said:
“The Young Carers Action Day Steering Group chose to focus on protecting young carers futures. This theme fits in perfectly with this year, as due to the pandemic it is now more important than ever that we protect the futures of young people with caring responsibilities.”
Welcoming the call for a National Action Plan to protect young carers’ futures, world-leading researcher on young carers’ rights and Carers Trust Ambassador, Dr Saul Becker, said:
“During the pandemic, we have seen millions of people, rightly, furloughed to stay at home, paid by the government and told they must NOT work. On the other hand, carers of all ages, and especially carers under the age of 25, have been forced to stay at home because schools have closed, health and social care services have been cancelled, and young carers have taken on many of the responsibilities of statutory and other service providers, often on a full-time basis.
“It’s young carers’ turn for recognition and support. We desperately need national and local action plans to make sure that young carers are not left behind; that they are no longer ignored and invisible. We must safeguard their futures – and see this as a sound investment not a cost.”
Employers called on to protect young carers’ futures
Carers Trust is also urging employers to protect young carers’ futures by acknowledging the unique skills and attributes young carers develop from an early age, such as time-management skills, resilience, empathy and a sense of responsibility for others.