Posted by: madkentdragon | December 22, 2010

Child Carers – an Acceptable form of Slavery?


With all the talks of cuts in all services, I’m wondering where does that leave the youngsters who care for their parents.

Yes, those youngsters as young as 11 who are the main carer for a disabled or ill parent – those kids who are doing a fantastic but unpaid job of washing, dressing, feeding and giving medication to a parent!

Why is this happening and what has any government done to stop this child slavery? For that is what it is. If a home help or a local authority carer or nurse came in to look after mum or dad, they would receive a wage. But these youngsters feed, change incontinence pads, wash and even give controlled drugs to their parent.

Now I don’t know all the rules and regulations on administering drugs, but I do know that every dose of medicine in hospital is signed for and that juniors do it under supervision. But these youngsters do it without any of the protocols and then get themselves ready for school, often rushing home at lunchtime to ensure that their parent is fed and medicated before their afternoon lessons. Some don’t get time to eat or socialise and how many schools know that the very tired child sitting at the back of the class who is struggling to keep up has this burden on them?

Certain organisations arrange occasional days out and respite care for them, but they still have to return and pick up this burden. And what about Christmas, how does the parent feel when it is little Jane or Jimmy who has to cook and serve the dinner, do they even have time to get the shopping in?

It’s not the parent’s fault, they have become ill or disabled; frequently being abandoned by their partner who could not face the future like that and it is not the child’s fault. But at this time of year, remember when we moan about a shop running out of tinsel that there are some youngsters struggling to act as parent to their parent.

I don’t care which political party you support because they have all had their chance to sort this problem out but have not done anything.

Join me in shouting about this type of slavery. Remember, without you kids don’t have the voice or the franchise to do anything about it.

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Responses

  1. I wrote about the same subject before the election: http://lisybabe.blogspot.com/2010/03/sport-relief-and-child-carers.html

  2. Great post hun, great post. We need to provide more assistance here, it is not fair that children lose a carefree childhood because they love their family……

  3. An excellent post! And timely one. Many children in the new year will be facing hardship. Their needs will come last, as they assume adult responsibilites yet again.

    Local councils aren’t given the money to invest in proper care. Even 25 years ago, state care was a shambles. Now, care homes have been closed down, forcing children to be the adult. Because there is often no-one else, children simply get on with it.

    When I was younger, I occassionally had to clean and look after my disabled father. Forced me to grow up quickly! Before people argue children should contribute to the house, yes, that’s fine.

    Caring is more than just pulling your weight or doing chores. Any child who has to clean, feed and dress a parent, then cook, clean the house, buy shopping etc – and squeeze in an education – is not living the life they should lead.

    For us, there was some respite as my father went into a home for a week. Nowadays, people have to self-fund such opportunities and are not so lucky…

    I’ve also taught children in the past who lost their childhood because of this; it’s unacceptable! One child rarely came to school as she was so exhausted. That time lost will never be regained. Instead of being nurtured, educated and looked after, a generation of youngsters are suffering.

    It’s the 21st century and we live in a (supposedly) modern country. How this is allowed to happen is beyond me!

  4. Thank you for pointing me towards this post from twitter. One of the first groups I joined when entering Parliament in May was the All Party Carers Group and the plight of young carers is something that is often discussed in Westminster. It breaks my heart to hear stories from young carers and I certainly hope to do more to help them in the future. I recently took part in a TweetUp in support of young carers which was an interesting initiative to raise knowledge of the issue. Am always to learn more though!

    You may be interested to read the following speech – I think it might have been my second in Westminster on the subject. It can be found at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?gid=2010-07-01b.304.0


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