Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Yn ôl i Chwilio

Y Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

31/01/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Dai Lloyd AC Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
David Rees AC
Helen Mary Jones AC
Jayne Bryant AC
Neil Hamilton AC

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Bethan Evans Cynrychiolydd Cyngor Ieuenctid, Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru
Youth Council Representative, Carers Trust Wales
Grace Barton Cynrychiolydd Cyngor Ieuenctid, Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru
Youth Council Representative, Carers Trust Wales
Kate Cubbage Pennaeth Materion Allanol, Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru
Head of External Affairs, Carers Trust Wales
Oliver Davies Cynrychiolydd Cyngor Ieuenctid, Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru
Youth Council Representative, Carers Trust Wales

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Bethan Kelham Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Stephen Boyce Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Tanwen Summers Ail Glerc
Second Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod am 13:15.

The public part of the meeting began at 13:15.

2. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
2. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Croeso i gyfarfod diweddaraf y Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon yma yn y Senedd, yng Nghynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru. O dan eitem 1, cyflwyniadau, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau, dwi'n cychwyn drwy estyn croeso i'm cyd-aelodau o'r pwyllgor, hefyd, yn bellach, yn egluro i bawb bod y cyfarfod yma yn naturiol yn ddwyieithog. Gellir defnyddio'r clustffonau i glywed cyfieithu ar y pryd o'r Gymraeg i'r Saesneg ar sianel 1, neu glywed cyfraniadau yn yr iaith wreiddiol yn well ar sianel 2. Hefyd, dŷn ni ddim yn disgwyl i'r larwm tân ganu, felly, os bydd hi yn canu, bydd angen gadael yr ystafell ar fyrder a dilyn cyfarwyddiadau'r tywyswyr.

Dŷn ni wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau oddi wrth Dawn Bowden, Angela Burns a Lynne Neagle. Felly, gyda chymaint â hwnna o ragymadrodd, dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen i eitem 2. 

Welcome to the latest meeting of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee here at the National Assembly for Wales. Under item 1, introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest, I begin by extending a welcome to my fellow Members and also explain that this meeting is bilingual. Headsets are available to hear the simultaneous translation from Welsh to English on channel 1, or to hear contributions in the original language amplified on channel 2. Also, we're not expecting a fire alarm this morning, so, if it does ring, then you'll need to leave this room and follow the instructions of the ushers. 

We have received apologies from Dawn Bowden, Angela Burns and Lynne Neagle. So, with those few words, we'll move straight into the second item.

3. Effaith Deddf Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol a Llesiant (Cymru) 2014 mewn perthynas â Gofalwyr: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda chynrychiolwyr Cyngor Ieuenctid Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru
3. Impact of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 in relation to Carers: Evidence session with Carers Trust Wales Youth Council representatives

Jest i bwysleisio, bydd y meicroffonau yn gweithio yn awtomatig. Does dim angen cyffwrdd â dim byd. Does dim angen i'r pedwar ohonoch chi ateb pob cwestiwn, gyda llaw, chwaith, os nad oes yna rywbeth penodol, gwahanol i'w ddweud. Felly, cymerwch eich amser. Mae digon o amser ar gael.

Dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen at eitem 2, a pharhad o'r gwaith dŷn ni wedi bod yn gwneud trwy'r bore, a dweud y gwir. Dŷn ni wedi cyrraedd effaith Deddf Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol a Llesiant (Cymru) 2014 mewn perthynas efo gofalwyr—yn y cyd-destun yma, mewn perthynas efo gofalwyr ifanc, ac mae'r sesiwn dystiolaeth yma gyda chynrychiolwyr cyngor ieuenctid Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru. Croeso i'r pedwar ohonoch chi. Wrth basio, dwi'n falch i nodi taw heddiw ydy'r Diwrnod Ymwybyddiaeth o Ofalwyr Ifanc, felly. I'r perwyl yna, dyna pam yn benodol dŷn ni wedi cynnal y sesiwn yma heddiw. 

Dwi'n falch iawn o groesawu, felly, Grace Barton, cynrychiolwr cyngor ieuenctid Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru ac Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru—croeso Grace—Oliver Davies, cynrychiolydd cyngor ieuenctid Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru hefyd, ac Aelod arall o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru; Bethan Evans, cynrychiolydd cyngor ieuenctid Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru ac Aelod o Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru wrth gefn—mae yna thema fan hyn sydd yn rhedeg—a hefyd Kate Cubbage, pennaeth materion allanol, Ymddiriedolaeth Gofalwyr Cymru. Diolch yn fawr ichi am eich presenoldeb, am y dystiolaeth ysgrifenedig ymlaen llaw, a hefyd am gyfrannu mor fendigedig i'r sesiwn blaenorol cyn cinio efo aelodau o'r Pwyllgor. 

Yn ôl ein harfer, awn ni yn syth i mewn i gwestiynu. Does dim eisiau poeni am ddim byd. Dyw pethau ddim yn anodd. Dŷn ni ddim yn ceisio eich dal chi allan. Mynd ar ôl gwybodaeth ydy hyn, ac mae'r cwestiynau cyntaf o dan ofal Jayne Bryant. Jayne.

Just to tell you that the microphones will work automatically—you don't need to touch anything. The four of you don't have to answer each question, either, if you don't have something specific or different to say. So, take your time. There's plenty of time to be had. 

We'll move on now to item 2, and a continuation of the work we've been doing all morning. We've reached the impact of the Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014 in relation to carers, and, in this context, in relation to young carers. This is the evidence session with the Carers Trust Wales youth council representatives, so welcome to the four of you. Just in passing, I'm happy to mention that today is Young Carers Awareness Day, and, to that end, that's why, specifically, we've held this evidence session today.

So, I'm very happy to welcome Grace Barton, a Carers Trust Wales youth council representative and a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament—welcome, Grace—Oliver Davies, a Carers Trust Wales youth council representative and also a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament; Bethan Evans, Carers Trust Wales youth council representative and reserve Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament—there's a theme here I can see developing—and also Kate Cubbage, head of external affairs, Carers Trust Wales. Thank you very much for your attendance and for the written evidence in advance, and for contributing so well in the session before lunch. 

So, we'll go straight into questions, as is customary. You don't need to worry about anything. We're not trying to catch you out at all. We're just going after evidence, and the first questions are from Jayne Bryant.

Thank you, Chair. Good afternoon, and thank you for coming to speak with us today. The first few questions are just trying to find out a bit more about your experiences of being a young carer. Do you think that being a young carer has made a difference to your experience at school, and, if so, what are those differences?

One hundred per cent, yes. I think any young carer you ask, they'll all say that it's affected you in school one way or another—whether that's not being supported enough, not feeling like you're being supported, and, if you're struggling, there's no-one there and you feel sometimes you're not doing as well as you can do because you haven't got that support, and that's really important for anyone, especially young carers, when you're in school. 

I think with children and younger years—I'm in year 13—so, having children and younger years being more aware of maybe how to come across to a young carer; that's important. So, having younger years as well.

So, awareness of other people of it. Do you think that being a young carer can impact on your health and mental well-being, and how do you think that does?

It has a massive effect on your mental health. It can tend to get you get you quite low, and bring you quite down. There aren't many people who you can turn to to talk to who have a full understanding of what a young carer's role is and why this has made you so upset or brought down.

I think one thing is guilt—a lot of guilt in mental health. We try in our caring roles—. We get these thoughts saying, 'Why is he asking me this?' or 'Why is she asking me this?' Then we have to reflect and say, 'We have to deal with this. This is our situation', and having that inner conflict is very detrimental to our mental health. I've noticed that a lot with my mother as well, and with me.

13:20

I think a lot of young carers feel very isolated as well—isolated from friends, school, peers, and also parents don't know the support that's available for them, so their mental health can be affected by that. 

I was just going to ask you about friends. Do you think, being young carers, it's harder to keep your friends? Do you find that, or are your friends able to help? Do you tell your friends that you're young carers?

A few of my friends know, but still lack that understanding. And some recent research went out, and almost a quarter—23 per cent—of young carers came back telling us that they find that their caring role makes it harder for them to make friends. 

I think it's all down to understanding in the end. You can tell someone your life story, and whether they want to understand or not is a completely different situation. Sometimes it affects you, sometimes it doesn't. It completely depends on who that person is. 

And it's worth noting that 68 per cent of young carers tell us that they're feeling bullied, and a quarter of them tell us that they're bullied because they are carers, so that can have quite a big impact in terms of building relationships at school. 

That's a shocking figure, isn't it? Has anybody else asked you how they can help—teachers or social workers? Do you feel supported by those groups of people? 

There are definitely a few teachers in my school, personally, that have been an amazing help to me and my family, but there are still other members of staff and teachers in school who don't have that understanding, and aren't very aware, or, if they are aware, don't choose to be supportive. 

It seems to be something that is acknowledged, but then pushed aside and it's quickly forgotten. 'Oh, you're a carer' and then it's back to the same—this is the same amount of homework you'll be set. And, even though we can deal with homework, and we can deal with the stress of school, it's having that understanding that we may need a bit more time, and, if we do ask for that time and say we have had a problem at home, it's the recognition that it's what is needed, unfortunately. 

Have any of you ever had an assessment, for example, by a social worker, and did it look at the needs of you, or your family, or both? No, nobody's had one. Okay, I think that says it all as well. Thank you, Chair. 

Diolch yn fawr. Mae cwestiynau eraill o dan ofal David Rees. 

Thank you. There are some other questions from David Rees.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Can I just go on with the school issues to start with? Because it was raised very much this morning, and I thank you all for the time you gave us this morning; it was very helpful in understanding some of the things. You said some teachers—. Oliver, you said some teachers were good; others not so good. Is there a situation where we need to address the point where all teachers should be made aware of the circumstances?

One hundred per cent. 

Because is it a possibility that some teachers don't know? That's what I'm trying to find out.

It needs to be the whole school. The whole school needs to understand what is a young carer, who are young carers, and how can we support them. It's no good having one or two teachers. The whole school needs to be supportive. And whether a young carer wants that support or not is completely up to them. Some people think they can do it on their own; others really need that support. If it's only one or two teachers, you're not being fully supported within the school. It's one rule for one and another for another. Like you said before, if one teacher says 'Okay, that's fine, can you bring your homework in next week?', and another one says, 'No, you have to do it on this day', it's a completely different level of respect and support from different teachers. 

I heard earlier, when we were having the discussions with other young carers, that they were saying about a carers champion, and some schools don't have carers champions. And I was also hearing that some teachers are more understanding and that it's not just that one teacher that needs to be understanding, it needs to be more of a—. When you become a teacher, it needs to be that there are some things that—. You're taught how to deal with children, and it should be, 'There are different types of children—some of them are carers'. And I remember that there was another point that was made about policemen coming into school and teaching about drugs, and teaching about these important things that will happen throughout a child's life, and even though—. All three of us, and many other young carers, our events that happened throughout our lives were unpredictable. So, having that knowledge of maybe a young carer coming in and saying, 'Stuff like this happens, and, if you are going through it, then there is support there'.

13:25

So, there's an issue there as to how do we get the information to you.

There was supposed to be one. According to my outreach worker, there was a carers champion in my school, but no-one knew about it; no-one knew who it was.

So, from what I'm gathering, the school experience you have is mixed; you have some teachers who are very supportive, others not, and schools may have a carers champion, but they're not actually operating any sort of support themselves and may not even be directing you to support you may have. So, if they haven't got a carers champion talking to you, then no-one's telling you what help you can get.

It's a random mix. If you get a good teacher, then you're lucky and, if you get a mix of bad teachers, then you just have to find your own way.

Like it was said this morning, I know that some schools work really, really hard to support young carers, but they're not getting the support themselves. Once they've used all of their resources and all of their willpower to support these young carers, who is there to support them? And that's the flipside to it.

So, there are two sides of it; there's a side that says that some schools need to up their game and there's another side of schools that are upping their game and need to have the support.

And it's no surprise, given that kind of inconsistency, why we see that 35 per cent of young carers have never told anybody at school that they're a young carer. And I think it's those long-term relationships and the visibility of caring within the school that can encourage those open conversations.

But, if the school becomes far more prepared and open about it, it will encourage young carers to have that conversation.

Helen, you've got a supplementary. I'll come back to you, David.

Yes, please, if that's all right. One of the young carers that I spoke to over lunch was saying to me that they thought that the schools needed to be told more what they ought to do, that Welsh Government—. Because their question to me was, 'Can the Welsh Government tell schools what to do?' And I said, 'Yes, they can', and they said that schools needed to be told what steps they needed to take, because some schools are good at it, but others just don't think about it at all. I wondered what you think about that. Do you think the Government should be saying to—?

I think every school needs some sort of guideline to go from, because you're not going to know straight away how to support a young carer; it's not something that comes up in an everyday conversation. You need some sort of guideline to go from on how you—. Because each young carer is different; each support is going to be a little bit different. So, yes, I think that is right that there needs to be some sort of, at least, guideline to say how do you do this.

Going back to what Grace said, each young carer is different, so even though you may tell schools what we've told you, there are different situations in different schools, so having that school told, 'This is what a young carer may have to do, maybe if you have a word with your young carers and have what we're having now, just a session where we can tell them what they're doing'. It could be an annual thing, it could be a monthly thing—something that they can just improve on and keep working with.

I think there needs to be a rough guideline for what schools should be doing, but, going back to what Grace said, every young carer is different; every young carer's support that they need is different. So, as long as they've got that rough guideline of what they need to do, they can go off that and what the specific young carer needs.

It is very important to understand that the school champion is there, but, if you don't have that ethos within the school, then—as you rightly point out, each young carer is different; the ethos has to be there, they have to have the attitude of helping you and it seems there's a big question over that.

Okay. If I go back to a couple of points, what support have you actually found useful to you? Obviously, there have been variations in support, but what have you found useful to your own personal circumstances in this case?

My outreach worker. My current outreach worker is fantastic. Anything that you need, you can ask and he'll try and support you in any way that he can. And also I have a fantastic family network— everyone supports each other and I'm actually very fortunate to have a family like that, and that's really helped me throughout growing up.

I'd have to say exactly the same as Grace. I've got an amazing family and my support worker is fantastic. There are a few teachers in my school who are amazing, but there's only so much that they can do with their power.

13:30

Yes, I think the young adult carers project have been an amazing help, and I have teachers in school who know that there are ups and downs to being a carer, so there can be good weeks, there can be bad weeks. So, having that, 'You can just walk in and tell me what's going on', that's such a big help for me.   

And in your discussions with other young carers, obviously, you've highlighted the family network is crucial, but there'll be some who clearly wouldn't have had that family network. Have they indicated as to the challenges they face that you might not be aware of yet?  

There's a lot of discussion, I think, within my young carers group, my local one. You know, everyone shares their own opinion, shares what they've been through, and that's quite a good— . It's quite good support, because it's having support and advice from someone who knows exactly what you're going through, and it isn't trying to compare you to anyone else. And they really do understand you because, of course, they're a young carer themselves. 

I know that Grace and Oliver said that they have good family support, and even though I have family support, I think I'm on the lesser scale of that, because I have my grandparents, but I don't have a very wide extended family. So, all I have to support me in my caring role are the young carers and my mother, because my brother doesn't spend much time. So, I think helping more the people in the primary family, that can help a lot. I know that wider family are very good and useful and they are there, but in my case not very much.  

Okay, thank you. Respite, clearly, is important for your own time and your ability to actually get yourself back to some form of opportunity to do things you want to do. How do you find—? Do you have—? Because I talked to some over lunch, and the answer was, 'We don't have any respite.' Basically, when they're there, it's 24/7. Do you have any opportunity to have any form of respite?  

I do. I grew up quite fortunately—but we take dad with us. Dad is who I care for, so when I used to sail, dad would come with us, and we involve him in these things. But growing up, I did swimming as well, and I've been very fortunate to always do what I wanted. Obviously, there are some exceptions. On some days, you can't do things or something's happened so there's a bit of a change but, like I said, my family's always tried to support each other in doing what we all want to do. 

I'd have to agree with that. There is limited respite for young carers, and as much as the support is absolutely amazing, it's limited by funding and awareness. So, groups aren't as frequent as maybe they could be, or basically aren't really—. As much as they are amazing, they're not what they could be if they had all the support that they needed. 

I completely agree with Oliver there's—. I was speaking to my support worker and I was like, 'When's the next one? I really want to go to the next one, I want to see my friends who are also carers, and I want to talk to them', because I know that once you're in that room, there is no-one going, 'Okay, what's wrong with you?' It's more of a, 'Okay, I understand you', and it's a silent understanding, and it's something that I've found very comforting.  

So, you're actually talking about young carers groups as a release, in one sense, because you knew—you went there and there wasn't the pressure of having to explain anything or understand it, because everyone in the room knew exactly the same as you. 

It's a form of getting our childhood back. I heard someone say that earlier, and I felt I 100 per cent agreed. Once you walk into that room, you get your childhood back.  

Going back to the limited support and what I was trying to say, once you are in the system of getting that support, you only stay in the system of support for six months, and then you have to be re-referred, which then means you go on a waiting list and then have to go back through the whole process again of being assessed as a young carer. Again, this is due to awareness and funding. 

So, you're saying that in six months you've got to be reassessed. Okay. Interesting. 

I think you can see from the looks on our faces that we think that that's really silly, and I suppose it might be the case that somebody's situation has changed and perhaps you didn't need that support any more, but I don't think any of us think that you should have to do that every—and certainly not go on a waiting list again. That's a comment, Chair, rather than a question, but I think you could see us all going—, so I thought I'd better explain what we were going—about.  

Diolch, David. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen. Y cwestiynau nesaf o dan ofal Neil Hamilton. 

Thank you, David. moving on, the next questions are from Neil Hamilton. 

13:35

Local authorities, councils, have got a duty to provide information, advice and assistance to carers, and others in the support network. And in evidence to this committee, the Young Men's Christian Association has expressed concerns that information, advice and assistance are often aimed more at adults than at young carers, and so they don't reflect the views and experiences of young people. So, can you tell us, to start with, how did you find out about your young carers group or service? What's your experience been?

I found out because I had a bit of a breakdown in my psychology class. I was in psychology, and my psychology teacher knew exactly about my situation. I was taken to my guidance support worker; this was two years after my father's stroke. And my guidance support worker was new, and she didn't know what to do in that sense, so she looked at everything she possibly could, when she came across young adult carers in Swansea. And she said, 'I don't know what they can do for you, but I've heard that maybe they can do something.' My support worker, Alex, she then came into my school, and everything changed—I had one-to-ones, I then found out about my group. And what had been prolonged for two years of me on my own—within two weeks, I was then immersed in this new community, and I felt very happy that I was found, luckily.

Thank you for being so frank about your personal circumstance. But, of course, if you'd had support at an earlier stage, you wouldn't have perhaps got to that crisis point.

One of my first thoughts were, when my father was discharged from hospital, why didn't one of the nurses, or why didn't one of the doctors leave and say, 'Okay, your father is now recovering from a stroke, you are a young carer now, we know the duties that you will have to face. Here is some help, here is a number'? Two years I didn't have that, unfortunately.

So, you could have done with quite a lot of assistance at that point, given the debilitating nature of a stroke on a close family member. And anybody who's ever experienced that will know quite what an emotional experience it is.

Yes. Unluckily, I was going through my GCSEs as well. I had my mathematics GCSE, and then went up to hospital. So, yes.

I've been a young carer for my whole life. But I only actually found out that I was a young carer about 18 months, two years ago. My mum went to an event looking for help and support for my brother who I care for, and she bumped into my support worker, and she explained that there are groups and activities. And then I was visited in school, and assessed. And then, I'm here.

I have been a young carer my whole life also, but I have older siblings. So, they were kind of already known too, from Credu, which is my local Carers Trust. It wasn't until I was in my last year of primary school that I got in touch with my outreach worker, because dad had recently gone slightly worse. So, I was going home at lunchtimes, from primary school, to give him his lunch, medication, and whatever. And that's when my school got in touch with my outreach worker, and said, 'Do you just want a chat with her?', and I said, 'Yes'. And I've gone from there, really.

So, what's your overall impression of the amount of advice and assistance that is available, from your personal experience, in your local areas?

I think what I have now is really amazing. But I think I would have found it a lot more helpful to have had it from a much earlier stage. But there was just nobody there who said, 'Oh, there's this support.' So, we were just kind of left to find that by ourselves, and by chance, then, we found it.

Mid Powys. Right. So, you cover quite a range of areas—rural and urban. And that's very interesting. Do you think there is enough information available for young carers outside of the school environment about where you can get help and support and advice?

13:40

No, but I also think that can come from social workers and reviewing officers. When they're reviewing the people who we care for, they should be picking up on: are they young carers, are there young adult carers within this household? And they should know the advice and support that is available to them. Whereas it's not necessarily coming from a school point of view, because everyone said that the support for young carers needs to come on a lot earlier.

I think the needs of the person who you care for are met, and the needs of the people who care for that person are also just as important in my opinion.

Yes, I think you're absolutely right. What do you think is the best way to make sure that more young carers know about support that's available and how to get access to it?

I think schools are the biggest target point that needs to be hit. If schools were made more aware, then they could—just in assemblies, for example, people could be sat there listening in an assembly to an explanation of a young carer and be like, 'Oh, I might be a young carer', and then they know where to get that support from early on.

Are there others in your school in a similar situation to you as well? Would there be enough for a group or—?

We have a little group that was put together only a few weeks ago in my school. There are a few people—. There are about four of us, but there are definitely a few more in our school who are too embarrassed and shy and worried about what other people will think to come out and say, 'I'm a young carer.' 

Yes, it's difficult to understand that, really, in a way, isn't it? But I suppose it is a fact of life. The question is: how do we get around that inside your school environment and the structures that the school needs to set up in order to avoid that occurring?

I think the teachers are—not scared of children, but the younger years tend to have an idea that maybe it's been overexaggerated, so it's not really within their situation. When I found out I was a young carer, at the time I was mentoring younger students, and the person who was in charge of me mentoring them said, 'So, you're a young carer, and this girl I have in year 8, her brother has a form of autism', so I now speak to her and help her with her life at home and things. The more I've realised is that I've also had the nurse asking me, 'Okay, I had this girl and she also is a young carer and I've told her about you.' I feel that with more help from teachers—that is needed, but also to make sure that carers come forward and help each other, because a lot of children might be more involved if they knew that there were people their age or around their age involved.

It's worth noting that Carers Trust research released this week showed that one in five young people has a caring responsibility, so it's not insignificant when we're looking at developing opportunities for peer groups within schools. They're there; they're just hidden—they're not identifying.

Ocê. Symudwn ymlaen at Helen Mary Jones.

Okay. We'll move on to Helen Mary Jones.

Diolch, Dai, and thank you all again—that's really valuable stuff. We've touched on a little bit of this in your answers to Neil Hamilton, but I just want to pull some themes out a little bit more. When did each of you realise that you were a young carer? When did you start to use that term? Because we've certainly heard that adult carers may be carers for years before they start thinking of themselves as a carer, and obviously they don't even think to think about asking for some help. So, when did you start to think of yourselves that way?

Towards the end of primary school, really—year 6. It would have been much better to have known before, but I think I'd rather have known then, before I went up to secondary school, just to be prepared and look for that support ready for when I go up.

I probably couldn't tell you. I grew up being a young carer, but it was completely normal for me. That was my life—I got on with it; that was my normal, and I don't know—. I couldn't tell you when I started to call myself a young carer, because it was just something that I grew up with and I didn't know anything else.

And Grace, would it have been helpful if somebody had said that to you—to put a name to what you were doing earlier on?

I don't know if it would have made that much of a difference, because like I said before, I have a really, really good family support network, which makes the world of difference. Dad was in and out of hospital quite a lot when I was growing up, but he looked after me when I was younger. The nursery people used to come down the road and pick me up in a car because he couldn't walk that far and things like that, but it was never something that was out of the ordinary for me at all.

13:45

Exactly. We just get on with it. That's just how it is.

As I said, I've been a carer my entire life, but I only realised a couple of years ago. It's just your 'normal'.

It's nothing that you can change. You either get on with it, or you can't really do anything else, to be honest.

I haven't been a young carer all my life. My 15 years were just the same as any other's, and when it changed it became more of an adapting role. I've heard people talk about my life saying that I've had to learn how to live with my dad again. He's a completely different person; I can't remember what he was much like before. And learning that again kind of made me forget about myself in that way and think more about him. So, I didn't even think I was a young carer; I just thought I was a daughter. I still don't use the term very much. Only recently I've started using the term—that I'm a young carer—and I've told people in my school about it and made sure they're aware of it.

I think that situation is a lot harder than just growing up with it, though, because, like you said, it's a completely different way of life.

I guess both experiences have got different sorts of challenges. Bethan, I think you began to talk about this, but which professionals—like doctors, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, teachers—do you think ought to be able to help identify young carers and make sure they're given the support and the understanding they need? Kate was saying that the survey suggests that there are four times more young carers in Wales than we've got identified. So, what should or could these other professionals be doing? Bethan, you said in response to Neil Hamilton that, perhaps, as your dad was being discharged from hospital, if somebody had said to you, 'You might be a carer from now on, these are the people you can get in touch with—.'

Definitely, 100 per cent. No-one mentioned it in the hospital. That's not their fault—they were doing their jobs and they did it superbly in their way. I owe my life to them, I owe everything to them, but it's the aftermath that I don't think many people think of. It's, 'I've got to fix this person; I've got to do this', and I'm completely grateful to them, but those two years of me in complete conflict and me thinking, 'Is this my way of thinking or is this wrong. Am I wrong?'—that could have been prevented slightly if I would have been told, and having that awareness in the NHS could be very beneficial.

I think social workers and reviewing officers are the way to go forward. If they're reviewing someone with an illness, why are they not looking at the wider picture: who lives in that household? Are there young carers? Are there young adult carers? They should be able to pick up on that, and then tell them what support is available to them. They can point them in the right direction, and I think that's the best way to go forward.

I'd like to agree with both Grace and Bethan. I'd also wish that teachers had that knowledge and that ability to go, 'I think you might be a young carer. This is where you can get support and this is how you can go about finding this support—.' I think it would be a lot easier.

That's really helpful. It's beginning to give us all some ideas, I think, of things we might want to say to the Government when we write our report. Now that you identify yourselves as young carers, and you know that you've got that role, do professionals like doctors and nurses—and I think you've partly answered this, Grace, but I just want to pull this out a bit—. Do professionals like doctors and nurses, the people who are involved in the care of the people you're caring for—do they understand that you're a carer? Do they involve you in conversations about the care for the person you're looking after?

We've spoken about this before, and I know when I was looking over these questions—when professionals come into the house, a question is always directed to either my mum or my sister and myself and never directed to my dad. Mentally, he is completely within capacity. It's just physically he's very ill. But he would rather that someone directed a question to him and he says, 'I don't want to answer that, Karen, you do it, or, Grace, you do it.' I think there's a huge level of respect that's needed there. I don't need to speak for him. He can do that himself—he's quite capable. So, I don't understand why people think it's okay to direct questions to the carers instead of—

13:50

I'd have to agree 100 per cent with that. 

And what about you, Bethan, when somebody's coming to look after your dad or to do an assessment or whatever, are you part of the conversation? I think I'd agree with you, Grace—they shouldn't be talking to you instead of your dad, but you should be part of that conversation.  

We are their carers, so you do need to be involved, but they still have the mental capacity to answer for themselves—they still have a mind of their own. 

Yes. So, they should be talking to you as well as the person who's being looked after, but not instead of the person who's being looked after. 

Yes, and no-one knows what they need better than we do, but we should be the second voice to that, not the directed—.

I think my dad's support has now shifted to more of he's got to find it now. Because they reached a certain point where they saw that my dad could walk a certain way or if he could—. He finally regained his speech and he started walking again, then they left him and they left the support. So, my dad had to find Neath Port Talbot stroke group, which he goes to now. But even when we had Swansea carers come to see my dad every week, it wouldn't be the case that I would see them, it would be, 'Oh, there's his daughter—hello, Bethan', and then they'd take him and go somewhere. They never offered me if I would like to go and it would always be that I'd have my free time in the house. I think once they left and my dad was considered not suitable for their care anymore, it then resulted in me and my mum having to deal with his emotional difficulties and to try and manage his mood swings and things. So, I've not had the same exact experience as Oliver and Grace.  

Thank you. That's really helpful. I want to talk to you quickly now a bit about the young carers ID cards. Some of you—some young carers that is, not you three particularly—have young carers ID cards or a reward and recognition card. Have you personally used those or are you aware of other young people who have, and has this helped more adults understand that you're carers and give you support?  

I haven't had one, so I haven't got an opinion on this. 

I do have one and it has been really helpful. But there are still teachers who are like, 'Oh, it's just an excuse; it's not good enough.' I think that they need to be more recognised. It's just the same thing for everything—we just need more recognition and more awareness. 

Yes. So, if it's a system that's going to work, many more people need to know what it means. 

Our youth council speaks about that a lot, particularly in terms of the pharmacy. Some can have trouble picking up medications for their parent and the use of an ID card potentially has helped for some. But recognition levels are really low. It's not consistent. I think that's something that was described really strongly when we met in October as a whole council. There was an experience where someone had shown a card and somebody didn't know what it meant and it was embarrassing, so they're not going to use it anymore. So, I think, for us, it is the consistency of the professionals knowing that they need to recognise the card and adapt what they're doing to meet the needs of that young carer. 

For me, on the whole pharmacy thing, it would be so much more helpful for me, my brother and my family because we're housebound because of my brother. So, if I could manage to get out and go and get his medication—. But because I'm not old enough to pick up medication, I can't, and my young carer card is only valid in school. So, I think it needs to be valid across the board for all sorts of stuff like that. 

Ocê. Diolch, Helen. Symudwn ymlaen nawr ac mae'r cwestiynau nesaf dan ofal Jayne Bryant. 

Thank you, Helen. Moving on now, and the next questions are from Jayne Bryant. 

Thank you, Chair. You said in your first responses how being a young carer can affect your mental health—what do you think or what support should young carers have to support their mental well-being? 

I think just knowing that there is so much that can help a young carer. We don't need someone there sitting with us 24/7 going, 'Okay, do you need to talk now? What about now?' We just need to have that in the back of our head, going, 'We can go and speak to this person tomorrow', or 'I'm having a bad day today.' I got offered counselling and that was once a week. And I told them, 'I don't want to go to that, because it's once a week. I won't have a problem once a week. It's the same problem, if it is—.' And having that, probably, just in the back of my mind, can relieve so much more stress.

13:55

I think I speak for many young carers when I say that I've seen quite a few counsellors and they all say the same thing—'I understand.' And they don't. They don't live with it. They don't experience that, but they all 'understand'. And they really don't. I've turned away from so many counsellors, because, even though there is that support by being recognised as a young carer, it's not the right support.

So, what do you think would be the right support? What sort of things would help?

As I said earlier, it's unique to every young carer—what they need. For me, personally, like you said, you're not going to have something every week scheduled to happen wrong. If there's somebody that you know you can go and talk to, when you need it, I think that would be so much more helpful, rather than having it planned every week.

Yes, I completely agree.

Brilliant, thank you. The evidence you've given us today has been so powerful and you've spoken so well. And I know you're all members of the Care Trust Wales youth council and two of you are members of the Welsh Youth Parliament, but why do you think it's important that we hear young carers' voices?

I couldn't say where to start with that. Why isn't it important? Young cares need this recognition; we need this awareness and we need other people to understand. It's not just about in schools or in colleges—it's throughout your whole life: through work, and if the person you care for is in hospital. However much a young carer will say, 'I don't need support', they always need it, or they always need to know that someone is there on their side. And people do need to be more educated about young carers, because we shouldn't be facing these problems—we shouldn't be saying, 'People don't understand', or have people sit there and go, 'I feel really sorry for you.' They're not the things that we want to hear. 

It's no good somebody who doesn't experience it coming and telling you what it's like, because they don't know what it's like, and as much as we can tell them what it's like, they won't really have that knowledge of what it's like. So, if we come and tell you, there's a bit more—. I can't think of the word, but it's a bit more—

Yes. Because we know what it's like and we live that, so we can give you a proper idea of what it is like and what we do need.

Well, you've certainly done that for us today, so thank you. Thank you, Chair.

Hapus? Y Cwestiwn olaf nawr—David Rees.

Happy? The final question, therefore, from David Rees.

This is the last question—possibly. [Laughter.] This is on a personal basis first: if you had one thing you'd want us to change for young carers, what would it be?

Raising awareness through a whole, completely—. Once you raise awareness, it opens the doors to everything else then, really. 

Yes, that would be mine.

Can you do us a favour, in that case? Obviously, you've given personal positions. Now, you're part of young carers groups in your own areas. Perhaps you could actually go back to that group and ask them to write in to us as well as to what their—and it might be the same thing; the same problem—one thing would be if we asked them, 'What can I change for a young carer? What's the most important thing that we can do?' It would be nice if we had that feedback coming in as well. 

Ocê. Unrhyw un eisiau dweud rhywbeth yn ychwanegol?

Okay. Anyone want to add something?

It's been an excellent evidence session. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mae wedi bod yn fendigedig, ac wedi bod yn llawn cymorth i ni ddod i gasgliad ynglŷn â'r adroddiad yma. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am eich presenoldeb ac i bawb a oedd yn rhan o'r gweithgaredd y bore yma. Dwi'n credu ein bod ni'n falch iawn, fel aelodau o'r Pwyllgor Iechyd, Gofal Cymdeithasol a Chwaraeon yma yng Nghynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, i allu eich gwahodd chi yn y lle cyntaf ac i'ch cyfarch chi yma yn ein Cynulliad Cenedlaethol—Senedd—a gobeithio y bydd rhai ohonoch chi yn Aelodau o'n Senedd ni mewn blynyddoedd i ddod, achos fedrith pawb ohonon ni ddim aros yn fan hyn am byth bythoedd. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi, felly, am eich presenoldeb ac am ateb y cwestiynau mewn modd mor fendigedig. Felly, dyna ddiwedd yr eitem yna—diolch yn fawr iawn i chi. Dyna ni—mi wnaiff rhywun fynd â chi allan nawr. 

Thank you very much. It's been a splendid evidence session, and it has been very helpful for us to come to a conclusion about this report. So, thank you for your attendance, and for all of you who were part of the activity this morning. I think we're very pleased, as members of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee here at the National Assembly for Wales, to be able to invite you in the first place and to have you here at our National Assembly—the Senedd—and hopefully some of you will be Members of the Senedd in years to come, because not all of us are going to be here forever. So, thank you for being here and for answering the questions so splendidly. So, that's the end of this item—thank you very much. Okay, there we are—someone will now take you out.

14:00
4. Papurau i'w nodi
4. Paper(s) to note

I fy nghyd-Aelodau, dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen i eitem 3—diolch yn fawr—a'r papurau i'w nodi. Wel, mae yna un papur i'w nodi. Mi fyddwch chi wedi darllen y llythyr gan y Gymdeithas Cyfarwyddwyr Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol mewn perthynas â'n hymchwiliad ni i beth dŷn ni'n ymchwilio iddo ar hyn o bryd—effaith Deddf Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol a Llesiant (Cymru) 2014 mewn perthynas â gofalwyr. A yw pawb yn hapus i nodi? Da iawn.

To my fellow Members, we are now moving on to item 3—thank you very much—and papers to note. Well, there is one paper to note. You will have read the letter from the Association of Directors of Social Services in relation to our current inquiry—the impact of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 in relation to carers. Is everyone happy to note that? It is noted.

5. Cynnig i benodi Cadeirydd dros dro
5. Motion to appoint a temporary Chair

Daw hynny â ni ymlaen at eitem 4, a'r angen i ethol Cadeirydd dros dro. Mi fydd yn amlwg i rai ohonoch chi—efallai fy mod i wedi crybwyll eisoes—nad ydw i'n gallu bod yma wythnos nesaf, felly bydd angen rhywun arall i gamu i mewn i'r bwlch a bod yn Gadeirydd. A oes rhywun eisiau enwebu rhywun i fod yn Gadeirydd dros dro?

That brings us on to item 4, and the need to elect a temporary Chair. It will be clear to some of you—perhaps I've already mentioned it—that I won't be able to be here next week, so we'll ask somebody to step up and be Chair. Does anyone want to nominate someone to be temporary Chair?

Diolch yn fawr, Jayne. Mae Jayne Bryant wedi enwebu Helen Mary Jones. A oes unrhyw enwebiad arall? Na. Diolch yn fawr. A yw pawb yn gytûn bod Helen Mary Jones yn cadeirio'r pwyllgor wythnos nesaf? 

Thank you, Jayne. Jayne Bryant has nominated Helen Mary Jones. Any other nominations? No. Thank you very much. Is everyone content that Helen Mary Jones will be chairing next week?

Pawb yn gytûn. Diolch yn fawr. Reit, mi allaf i ddatgan, felly, fod Helen Mary Jones wedi'i phenodi yn Gadeirydd dros dro ar gyfer y cyfarfod nesaf wythnos nesaf.

Everyone is content. Thank you very much. So, Helen Mary Jones is appointed temporary Chair for the next meeting next week.

Penodwyd Helen Mary Jones yn Gadeirydd dros dro.

Helen Mary Jones was appointed temporary Chair.

6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn a'r cyfarfod ar 6 Chwefror 2019
6. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting and for the meeting on 6 February 2019

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn a'r cyfarfod ar 6 Chwefror 2019 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting and for the meeting on 6 February 2019 in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Eitem 5—cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yma a'r cyfarfod wythnos nesaf—6 Chwefror—pan fydd y pwyllgor yn trafod adroddiadau drafft a materion yn ymwneud â'r flaenraglen waith. Pawb yn gytûn?

Item 5—a motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting and from the meeting on 6 February 2019, when we will be discussing the draft report on issues regarding the forward work programme. Is everyone content?

Yn gytûn, diolch yn fawr. Awn i mewn i sesiwn breifat, felly.

Okay, thank you. We'll go into private session, therefore.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:01.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:01.

Archwilio Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru