The assessment will likely be done by a member of staff from the local authority. They will usually be a social worker and they will be trained in doing these assessments. They will come and visit you and ask you some questions. They may work with you to fill in a form together. They may also want to speak to you alone for at least part of the assessment, without your parents around, to make sure that your voice is being heard properly. And they might consult young carer experts and other people who know you like your teachers to find out a bit more information.
When they are doing the assessment, the local authority must pay attention to a number of things, including:
- Your age, how much you understand and your family circumstances.
- Your wishes, feelings and preferences.
- What you want to get from the assessment.
The assessment should recognise that you are a unique person, and how you feel about being a young carer may well be very different to how others feel.
During the assessment, they will ask you about what type of jobs you do as a young carer and how often you do them. They want to understand how much the care you give is relied upon by the person you care for and your wider family.
They are also interested to know the impact that being a carer has on you, particularly on your physical and emotional health, your schoolwork, your recreation time, your future employment opportunities and your wider development. The starting point of the assessment will be the idea that children are children first, so they will want to make sure that being a carer isn’t stopping you from having a normal childhood too.
They will also want to find out how you feel about being a young carer. They will want to know if there are tasks you do that you just really don’t want to do and whether or not you want to carry on being a young carer at all.
This all helps them to decide whether they think it is appropriate for you to keep doing all of the types of care that you are doing, or if they should find someone else to help with some of the tasks to give you a bit of a break.
For instance, if you are regularly absent from school or you find it difficult to go out and make friends because you are a young carer, then they might decide you shouldn’t carry on providing as much care as you have been doing. Or if there are particular tasks which they think are inappropriate for you to do, such as washing the person you care for, taking them to the toilet, giving them medicines or lifting and carrying them, then they might decide it is better if someone else does these particular jobs instead.