Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services
As Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, I am proud to act as a champion for young carers and young adult carers. On this important day I therefore want to thank all young carers and young adult carers, who are helping and supporting their family members, friends and neighbours, in these extremely challenging times.
During the current Covid pandemic I am very conscious that some of the challenges and pressures that young carers’ can experience have increased, and more young people will have found themselves with caring responsibilities. However, not all experiences of caring are negative, which is why I am delighted to support Young Carers’ Action Day, the theme of which is “Protect Young Carers' Futures”.
Most young carers are at school or attending college and therefore need to balance their learning and personal development with their caring responsibilities. This has been particularly difficult in the past year for school children and students worried about falling behind in their studies, their exams, or their future job prospects given the huge pressures on businesses and the Welsh economy. However, through their caring role a young person can acquire a wide range of skills, for example, being resilient to everyday pressures, and time management. When combined with their learning in school, these life skills can help prepare them for further learning and entering the workplace.
I am delighted that on Young Carers’ Action Day I can highlight the progress being made by our national Young Carer ID card project. Too often the ability of a young carer to achieve and progress in their studies, or have a life alongside caring, is hindered because schools, health professionals and others don’t know who or what a young carer is, or how to help them. I want young carers to be able to identify themselves to others in a quick and easy way, so they can get the right help and support they need.
An ID card, each of which will show the national Young Carer logo, will give young carers a quick way to inform their teachers, the local pharmacy or GP surgery, staff in supermarkets or the local bus driver, that they look after someone. It will also help them access their rights under our Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This includes a right to a carers’ needs assessment.
I am pleased that over the past year we have been able to work closely with our local authorities and Carers Trust Wales with the project progressing from five early adopter local authorities, to 17 local authorities seeking and receiving funding in 2020-21. I want to see our national ID card project rolled out across the whole of Wales by 2022.
This week cards are being launched in Torfaen, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Newport, with a regional pan-north Wales approach involving Ynys Mon, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham. Local authorities have also responded to feedback from their local young carers groups and I am delighted work has already begun on testing different formats, for example an App version that can be carried on a young carer’s phone, and an ID wristband.
By working in partnership to raise awareness of carers’ rights and services, we can and will deliver better support and recognition for carers throughout Wales. Working together, we can make sure every young carer can get the help and support they need.