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Information for professionals

Who is a carer?

A carer is anyone who helps and supports a family member or friend because of their long-term physical or mental illness, disability or frailty. 

Many people do not recognise themselves as carers.  They are parents, grandparents, children, partners, friends or neighbours doing what needs to be done to maintain the quality of life for those they are looking after.

Who is a parent carer?

Parent carers are parents or guardians who provide unpaid care to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from birth to age 25. For more information about the support services for Parent Carers from Sunderland Carers Centre click here.

Who is a young carer?

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps and supports someone in their family, or a friend, because of their long-term physical or mental illness, disability or frailty and where the caring role is impacting on their life. This caring role can include practical tasks (such as cooking or housework), physical care (such as helping someone out of bed or helping to give medicine) and emotional support (such as talking to someone who is distressed). Their rights to be assessed come mostly from the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

Who is a care worker?

The word carer is often used incorrectly to refer to care workers.

Care workers are people who are in paid employment to provide care and support to people who need it.  It is important to make a distinction between carers and care workers.  Care Workers would not have the same rights as carers, but would have rights as employees.

Carers Rights

The Care Act 2014 came into effect from April 2015 and replaced most previous law regarding carers and people being cared for. It outlines the way in which local authorities should carry out carer’s assessments and needs assessments; how local authorities should determine who is eligible for support; how local authorities should charge for both residential care and community care; and places new obligations on local authorities. The Care Act 2014 (England)

Children and Families Act

The Children and Families Act 2014 states that local authorities must take proactive steps to identify and support young carers in their area. Where it appears to a local authority that a young carer may have needs then they must carry out an assessment. Young carers or their parents can also request an assessment. The legislation refers to this as a ‘young carer’s needs assessment’. As a result, the act now gives young carers, young adult carers and their families stronger rights to be identified, offered information, receive an assessment and supported using a whole-family approach.

For further information on the Children and Families Act 2014 and the young carers assessment you can read the Children and Families Act briefing. Alternatively you can check out the Young Person’s Guide to the Children and Families Act 2014.

To read the full Children and Families Act 2014, click here.

Supporting carers from different cultural backgrounds living in Sunderland

For information about supporting carers from different cultural backgrounds living in Sunderland click here

Refer a carer to Sunderland Carers Centre

To refer a carer to Sunderland Carer Centre click here

Services we offer for carers

For services for carers click here

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Who is a Professional?

A professional is anyone who comes into contact with carers who can help to identify them as carers if they don’t identify themselves, or can offer help and support to carers. Caring can affect every aspect of life therefore professionals from many disciplines can play a part in identifying, signposting and supporting carers. Professionals can also make their own working environment carer-friendly.

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