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More young carers expected to be identified as schools return in Pembrokeshire

As schools return to face -to-face teaching this week more young people will be identified as carers and will need to access support available from Action for Children.

Pembrokeshire County Council commissions the charity, funded by the children and communities grant from Welsh Government, with 144 people currently identified as young carers.

Members of the schools and learning overview and scrutiny committee discussed the development of young carers initiatives in the county’s schools and the bid to raise awareness of these young people’s needs.

This includes a national carers ID card with the committee agreeing with officer recommendations that it be more than just an identification card but “add value” to the lives of young carers possibly with support for travel or access to leisure.

A strategy will be developed with the Pembrokeshire’s Carers Strategy Partnership, including carers champion Cllr Mike James, and the views of the young carers themselves being taken into consideration.

Cllr James said he would visit every secondary school to see how the partnership could help them adding “this is a start of a new journey with the ID cards.”

An Investors in Carers scheme has been underway and all school staff will be trained in recognising young carers and helping them to access support, with every secondary school to appoint a young carer champions.

Prevention and early help manager Gareth Edwards said at Thursday’s (April 15) committee that there are 144 young carers identified but “the likelihood is there’s a huge amount of young people that have caring responsibilities that we are not aware of.”

This is likely to increase as schools start back fully he added, as school is generally where young carers are identified, adding online support had continued for young carers throughout lockdown.

National statistics were included in a report to committee including that young carers on average miss 48 days of school a year, 68 per cent are bullied in school and one in three will spend between 11 and 20 hours a week caring, with hours increasing during the pandemic.

The committee asked for more Pembrokeshire data to be brought back in an update on how work is progressing and the ID card development.

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