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To ask you how we can help young carers

(61 Posts)
Wooodpecker Wed 09-Jul-14 23:51:21

I am watching a TV programme about young carers. There is a 6 year old boy called Tyrese who is the main carer for his disabled mum. That's the same age as my son. Its truly shocking.He is loading the washing machine, washing dishes and fetching drinks and tablets. He is the same age as my son who spent his time after school playing minecraft and making Lego.

I spent my day feeling sorry for myself as my job is dull and unfulfilling. What a completley selfish idiot I am.

There are an estimated 700000 similar children with the under 7s making up the fastest growing group. How can this society accept that? I am appalled at how self centred we are. I want to help but don't know where to start.

How can we call ourselves an advanced society if we let this happen?

Have any of you got any ideas on where or how I could help?

What can we do as a collective to make a difference?

MiscellaneousAssortment Thu 10-Jul-14 02:55:04

Money to social services...

angelohsodelight Thu 10-Jul-14 06:08:03

Look up your local young caters support group and see if you can help. They often have evening clubs and trips out. You could donate time, money, cakes possibly.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 10-Jul-14 06:19:05

Why can't these parents get help from Social Services. Is it lack of funding or is it that Social services don't KNOW about the situation.

ItHasANiceRingWhenYouLaugh Thu 10-Jul-14 07:31:35

It is truly awful if the state knows about this and allows it. angry

I know of one poster on here whose primary age son is her carer but I'm not sure how much help she has sought from SS or how heavy his involvement is. sad

Andanotherthing123 Thu 10-Jul-14 07:38:45

It's shocking that a child of that age has to live a life like that. I guess SS budgets don't stretch to offering the kind of support that those parents need in order to allow their child to be a child.It must be awful for the parents too.

DottyDooRidesAgain Thu 10-Jul-14 07:44:44

You can donate time, money or anything else really to the many charities that have been set up to support the children. Honey Pot is one of many.

The fact that the government relies on children to care for relatives makes me want to weep.

There should be more money put in to social services so that , at the very least the amount of time these children support family members is greatly reduced.

Icantfindaname Thu 10-Jul-14 08:02:09

Carers Trust is a national charity for carers and does a lot of work with young carers and young adult carers.

You can follow them on twitter and see what they are up to

Ronmione Thu 10-Jul-14 08:10:25

I saw a bit if the programe and it was very sad. Tyrese had been caring for his mum since he was 4. It's a very sad state of affairs and one I can only see getting worse, with budget cuts and spending reviews.

sashh Thu 10-Jul-14 10:26:15

Have any of you got any ideas on where or how I could help?

Is there a local young carer's group? You could volunteer. The groups often try to get some respite care so that the carers can go and just be children for a day, could you volunteer as a carer for a day?

amothersplaceisinthewrong My local social services do not provide any help for people between the ages of 18 and 65. I am fortunate that a friend decided to give up any chance of a career to become my carer. Of course he gets carer's allowance, children cannot claim it because they are 'in full time education'.

MammaTJ Thu 10-Jul-14 10:38:57

Why can't these parents get help from Social Services. Is it lack of funding or is it that Social services don't KNOW about the situation.

When I was a single mum to 9 year old DD, I broke my ankle very badly. I was not even allowed to bum shuffle up the stairs.

I rang SS to ask for help and was told I didn't need it as DD could put a meal in the microwave, put the Hoover round and put a wash on. They also said she could empty my commode (no downstairs toilet).

They knew about my situation but chose to do nothing!

MyFairyKing Thu 10-Jul-14 11:11:50

MammaTJ It's a bit different when it's temporary though.

My local young carer's group was a godsend for me in giving respite and a youth worker on the other end of the phone I could talk to about any worries - caring related or not. They also mediated with the school, persuading them to allow me to have my phone in my bag in case my parents needed me, being understanding with attendance etc.

Unfortunately my sixth form college were completely unreasonable. They told me my education was more important than my parents; that it reflected badly on the college if I had to miss days to care for them. That if they were really ill enough to need me as a carer, they'd be given a live-in carer, I'd never amount to anything, if teachers weren't allowed days off to look after their kids, why should I be allowed to look after my parents?
Oh, and that my 11 year old brother and 9 year old sister should do it instead.

MiaowTheCat Thu 10-Jul-14 13:05:38

Just before I was 10 my dad left us (got caught with his knob in the office temp... could think of places he'd more productively have shoved his knob tbh but that's another story...) My mum fell apart, developed anorexia and a breakdown. My younger brother was aged under one when all of this kicked off - chronically ill with asthma that almost killed him on a number of occasions and the worst case of childhood eczema his consultant had ever seen in his 20 year plus career.

Aged 10 I was getting my mum up and out of bed and trying to get her to eat something, getting my brother up, bathed, creamed up with the wide range of eczema cream according to how bad it was and whatever else, dressed and then when my mum left for the childminders and work... getting myself sorted and off to school. Mum worked most evenings as well - so I was doing the end of the day babysitting stuff, and I'd also get the bus to town on my own on a Saturday morning and do the weekly shop in Tesco. Once my brother got older and I was in secondary school - I'd get two buses to get him to his childminders, and then walk from there on to school myself.

Not once was any of this pulled up upon as anything out of the ordinary. I'm fairly sure that gobshite that I am, I wouldn't have kept quiet about it as a kid - wouldn't have said it in a "woe is me" kind of way - but more just it coming out innocently in conversation. In my case - lots of this was my mother both being ill, my father being an arsehole and trying everything possible to make life hard, and my mum's complete tendency to offload anything and everything she could onto everyone else as well... I know with the latter point it really needed someone to turn around and tell her that getting a 10 year old to do the family shop was NOT on and she needed to get her own arse out of bed and bath her own baby on a morning - but basically I lost my childhood because of it - the family as a whole needed backup and intervention really - and I don't think a nice couple of days out with young carers would really have made a difference in my case.

Sounds bad but when you're in the middle of it all - you really don't realise just how much of what you're doing is out of the ordinary if that makes any sense?

Oh and my mother, with her awesome sense of tact and sensitivity actually had a "joking" go at me recently when my brother was emoing out about being dumped by his girlfriend... "why's he so neurotic - it's YOUR fault - YOU helped bring him up and make him like this!" Gotta love it!

SquigglySquid Thu 10-Jul-14 16:25:55

Frankly, the children should be taken out of those homes for neglect. If the child is doing what you would hire an actual caretaker for, the parents should be charged with violating child labor laws. The test is this. If the child was removed from the home would the parents still be able to function? If the answer is no, they are neglecting the child by not taking care of them. If they can't take care of themselves, they should not be allowed to be put in a position where they are allowed to take care of a child.

I don't see the difference between this and leaving a child home alone to fend for themselves.

These parents are selfish. Especially the ones with mental health problems that could be managed with treatment. Their kids need to be removed from their care until they get their shit together. It's not about punishing the parent, it's about providing the best situation for the child. The parents don't have rights to their children, the children have rights to a safe and stable environment.

MyFairyKing Thu 10-Jul-14 17:40:31

Yup because children in the UK care system have such great opportunities. hmm

BarbarianMum Thu 10-Jul-14 18:36:29

How does one 'get one's shit together' if one has a chronic or deteriorating condition, I wonder? When medicine has nothing to offer, and the state refuses to fund support? Get religion perhaps and pray for a miracle. hmm

But here's an idea to get hold of. How about using the money that would be used to keep a child in care to support the parent so the child could remain at home.

No, wait. That would still involve the state spending some money. Let's stick with the status quo.

MammaTJ Thu 10-Jul-14 19:02:32

MyFairyKing, yes, I totally get that. My situation lasted 8 weeks, involved a week long stay in hospital and an operation. During that stay I demanded to see a SW and got help for the duration, a whole 2x1/2hour a day, for which I was grateful.

MammaTJ Thu 10-Jul-14 19:06:03

SquigglySquid, somewhat lacking in empathy there. In fact maybe any human feeling!

Tanacot Thu 10-Jul-14 19:06:49

You can help young carers in the same way you can help adult carers, which is to support, really support disabled people to be independent adults, vote for proper funding of social care and proper, enabling benefits as well as access to employment, don't get tricked into believing propaganda about scroungers, and keep asking the question whenever you are in a place that disabled people are not (a cafe, a school, a mid sized graphic design agency in Brighton): why are they not here? (Unless you are on the bog in which case you are allowed to be on your own if your children will stand for it. wink)

I was a teen carer and now I'm an old carer and all I ever did was what needed doing and what no one else would. The way to really help me would be to do the work but the fact is that my care-labour is equivalent to approximately three million pounds (and counting) and nobody wants to pay for it when they can just keep squeezing me. It's an economic reality that cannot be made better with counselling.

PS Just say no to coffee mornings! :P

Smo2 Thu 10-Jul-14 19:21:38

I'm a musician and a few months ago I was employed to spend a two day residency with young carers. Basically giving them some time out and a chance to do an arts weekend. They are the most amazing, sincere compassionate young people you could ever care to meet. They blew me away, and I felt very humble, many of them are victims of difficult and distressing circumstances and squiggly whoever you are, you should be ashamed of your post, because all of them cared very deeply about the parent they cared for, and they would be horrified at the notion of being removed from their home. All they wanted was more support, more understanding from school as to why homework wasn't done etc and a voice to be listened to.

They were an absoutle pleasure to work with and I would be honoured and proud if my children tuned our with half the empathy and maturity that these kids had.

The state need to sort out the support and pay so that the child gets to keep their childhood and stay with the people they love. Sadly, it's very very lacking.

whatever5 Thu 10-Jul-14 19:33:12

What a stupid ignorant post SquigglySquid. What do you suggest parents do if they are disabled with a chronic condition and the state won't help them?

Fuck off squiggly. I think parents who don't raise their children with compassion, empathy and understanding should have their kids taken away, now that's neglectful. My parents taught me all those things, which is more than can be said for yours, if your post is anything to go by.

My parents will 'get their shit together' when you can give us the cure for OCD, anxiety, bipolar and PTSD... oh, and fibromyalgia and spina bifida too.

TheFairyCaravan Thu 10-Jul-14 19:45:38

I got as far as Squigglysquid's post and that has made me cry! What an absolute ignorant, nasty, horrible thing to say!

I am physically disabled, I became disabled through pregnancy with DS2 18 years ago. My children have had to be my carers, as well as DH, because there is no other fucking way! I have had OT assessments and my house adapted, my GP knows they are caring for me, my surgeons know, but there is no-one else! How hard is that to understand?

Do you think I like having a 17 yo boy help dry me and dress me? He wants to be a nurse, but it's slightly different doing it for your mum. My kids can wash, iron, cook and clean, they look after each other and me. They are wonderful human beings and say they don't mind, but I mind.

There is not a finite amount of money in the pot so while we can cope I would rather a person who lives on their own gets the help with their care than me because we can cope.

DS1(19) left home on Monday to join the Army, for the first time he can think of no-one but himself. It makes me feel really guilty and sad that all my immediate family have to help me, but it's not my fault!

MiscellaneousAssortment Thu 10-Jul-14 20:33:51

I find it sad that so many posters think the adults haven chosen to live like this, that there must be some kind of help from somewhere.

The reality is terrifying.

I have fought tooth and nail to get carers, going way up the chain of command, lawyers, mp's, and an expert who would not give up, even when I had to due to, oh gosh, the fact that I wasn't physically able to battle in that way.

I got almost enough care, but not quite enough, and now live on a tightrope where one minor problem will bring the whole thing crashing down. I had to give up all hospital appointments in order to live this way, so rather ironically could well get a bit better and therefore could in theory reduce carers. There's alot of that around - irony.

Irony is that although I'm living in hell, i''m so much 'luckier' than many other people.

My child is too young to be a carer, thank the lord, but I'm sure at some point in our future that will be the next battle. I wonder when it will be decided he's old enough to cope? When he goes to primary school? When he's seven? Eight?

To anyone to believes that disability can be avoided or protected against. Think again. It's a comfortable illusion. I wish I lived in your world.

I was a married professional paying higher rate tax for many many years. Within a few short months my world came crashing down. Devastating physical illness, husband leaving me with debts and a new born, no pay out on insurance though paid into for 15 years.

Tried to get 'emergency' help but it took a long time, friends help a few times then feel theyve done their bit. I became severely disabled due to having to do everything to keep daily life and ds functioning... begging for help.

I will never get my health back, though with the right physical therapies I may be able to walk again... But I have to prioritise my child over that.

Hard decisions. Hard situation.

I hope and pray my ds never has to be my carer, I don't actually know what I'd do in that situation. For the state, fostercare and an institution/ round the clock carers for the disabled adult work out very very expensive. Much more expensive than forcing a child to do it and turning a blind eye. And in most cases, the people that See the reality, are too low down the food chain to be able to provide the help needed.

Is suicide better than seeing your child caring for you everyday? Is ripping their only family and foundations away from them more damaging? Forced adoption rather than supporting the disability? What other choices are there? Not so many... These are the very very real choices people have to make. Don't blame them. Open your eyes.

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