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Impact of informal caring on children - Literature review Example

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The Impact of Care-Giving on Young Carers Introduction It has been said that human beings spend the longest time before they become adults. It is even defined by law, In the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday…
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Impact of informal caring on children
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Download file to see previous pages Children should feel secure enough to venture into their world and welcome new experiences of youth that aid them in their growth and development. However, for some children, such is not the case. Instead of being cared for, they are the ones that provide care for others. Becker (2000) defines young carers as: ‘children and young people under 18 who provide or intend to provide care, assistance or support to another family member. They carry out, often on a regular basis, significant or substantial caring tasks and assume a level of responsibility which would usually be associated with an adult’ (Becker, 2000, p. 378). These young carers live differently from their non-caregiving peers. They are tasked with huge responsibilities early on in life that they miss out on the regular lives expected of children their age. In an effort to meet children’s developmental needs, the UK government was prompted to consult children themselves, of things that matter to them most in order to be the basis of proposals for change. These key outcomes—being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and economic well-being are detailed in the Every Child Matters report and represent a considerable shift in focus for staff providing public services for children. (Baxter & Frederickson, 2005). In the document for Every Child Matters, Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2006), Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as “protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s health or development and ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care (HM Government, 2006, pp. 34-35). It is ironic that with young carers, instead of being ensured of their welfare, they are the ones who keep the people they care for safe, leaving them vulnerable to some risks to their own safety and welfare. Several circumstances such as living with a sick parent, caring for a sibling while their single parent goes off to work, caring for their elderly grandparents in the absence of their parents may necessitate relying on a child to be an informal caregiver. For some cultures, such as in Latin American and Asian American families, this is expected of children as their contributions to family life and as a good preparation for their future (Kuperminc et al, 2009). These situations are often viewed by the adults in the family as opportunities that help promote children’s growth and maturity as well as to learn family values (Weisner, 2001). On the part of the children caregivers, different perspectives may be gleaned. Kuperminc et al (2009) found that some adolescents find their own helpfulness in the home to contribute to their positive self-esteem and feelings of interpersonal competence. For adolescents who experience disruption in their lives, the act of caregiving is considered beneficial as it provides the important connection to others that they need as well as fosters positive self-identity (Brubaker & Wright, 2006). Still other adolescents who live in disadvantaged environments view their caregiving as providing them self-confidence because it makes them feel ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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