Young Carers

Kerry is 6 years old. She looks after her mum who is very poorly. She is seen as a young carer by society. They live on benefits and some days Kerry can’t get to school as her mum is too poorly to get out of bed. Kerry does the best she can but what more can she do? She is only six years old.

She is too young to join a young carers group, and even if she did, how is meeting other young carers once a week going to improve her situation? What Kerry needs is a fundamental change. What Kerry really needs is the right support for her mum!

DPN is a small national user-led charity who are here to support Parents with a disability or long term health condition. DPN provides advice, support and information which helps disabled parents and those who work with them enable them to know their rights and get the right support for them. All our information is free to disabled parents. With DPN’s support Kerry’s mum has got a support package in place with a personal budget that suits her needs and supports her in her parenting role.

Kerry is free to reclaim her childhood and has even had a couple of friends back for tea. Kerry has the chance of a normal childhood. Thank goodness for DPN!

DPN rejects the notion that disabled parents are a problem to be solved. Behind every ‘young carer’ there is at least one disabled parent. It is a simple fact that if disabled parents are provided with the support packages to which they are statutorily entitled, then there is less need for their children to assume the role of ‘young carers’.

Young Carers are already disadvantaged, by local authorities having an expectation for them to take on caring responsibilities, but add the current economic climate into the mix and they are from the UK’s 1.1 million families with at least one disabled parent who face significant financial difficulties too. This can make the Young Carer feel isolated and uncomfortable talking to their peers about their caring role.

There is also mounting evidence that Young Carers are less likely to go on to further education due to their concerns of having no-one to help their disabled parent/s at home.

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