CareFree Service

Our eligibility criteria

For Leicester City:

Definition of a young carer:

A young carer is a child or young person aged 18 years or under who provides regular and on going care and/or emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled, and/or misuses substances.

Eligibility criteria:

To meet eligibility for a service in Leicester, children and young people must:

  • meet the above definition of a young carer
  • be actively engaged in caring (practical and/or emotional)
  • be negatively impacted as a result of their care role, in any of the following areas:

         Physical/Mental wellbeing
         Education attainment
         Emotional and Behavioural Development
         Family and Social/Peer relationships

Secondary and sibling carers:

Children and young people supporting an adult primary carer to care for an adult or a sibling with disabilities will be eligible for a service from CareFree if they meet the above criteria.  However, the emphasis should be on a full package of support being provided from the relevant Social Care and Health Services.

Children and young people will NOT BE ELIGIBLE if:

  • their lives are adversely affected by living with a family member with poor health (as outlined above) but are not providing practical or emotional care for that person

Parents with mental health difficulties/problematic drug/alcohol use:

The complexities of the situation of young people living in households where a family member has mental health difficulties/problematic use of alcohol/drugs will need careful examination.  Although the strain and anxiety which can result from such circumstances may impact negatively on the child or young person’s health or development, CareFree can only offer support if the young person provides care for that person, as detailed above, and those care responsibilities have an adverse impact on the child or young person’s life.  Ideally, the parent should also be committed to receiving support in their own right.  In either case, the emphasis should be on a thorough assessment of need from Social Care and Health Services.

‘Absentee’ adult family members

If an adult carer is regularly absent from the home due to work commitments, leaving a child or young person in sole charge of care provision (e.g. after school, in the evenings, at weekends), then the young person will be eligible for a service from CareFree, as long as they meet the above criteria.   Non-disabled adults who are regularly in the home but leave significant care responsibilities to a child or young person rather than undertaking this role themselves, should be assessed and supported by other Early Help or Social Care Services to enhance their parenting capacity.  Once this work is completed a referral to CareFree can be made if the child or young person meets the above criteria.

Whole family working:

It is helpful to know if the cared for person has recently been assessed and if their care package has taken into account the needs of the young carer.  This will help us to determine which tier of  CareFree intervention is required, including whether or not we need to assess the needs of the cared for person (although we will always ask the family for their opinion too).  The process of assessing the family’s needs can be further streamlined by sharing with us (with the family’s permission) any recent Adult services, Children and Families Social Care and/or Early Help assessments.  Our staff will undertake joint visits with referral agencies where requested to do so and are committed to working in partnership to ensure the needs of all family members are met.

Enquiries & Referrals:

To make an enquiry or referral for a young carer please call 0116 286 7182 during office hours and ask to speak to a city CareFree project worker.  Alternatively, you can make a secure online referral via our website.  Please note you must have the family's permission to make a referral.

Any assessments (see above) should subsequently be sent electronically via our secure data sharing system ONLY. This is simple to do, please contact us at [email protected] and we will send you further instructions.

If a child is at risk of immediate or significant harm, please call the Children and Family Duty and Advice Service on 0116 4541004 and/or the Police.


We will make initial contact with families within 10 working days of referral and our assessments will be completed within 40 working days.


The relevant Project Worker will inform the referrer of the progress of the case within 10 working days of receipt of the referral.  If we have decided the child or young person is not eligible for a CareFree service we will explain why this is to the family and the referrer and sign post the family to a more appropriate agency.  If we are unable to make contact with the family, we will always advise the referrer.


Every young carer accepted for a service will have their circumstances and service package reviewed at least once before the case is closed.  Timescales vary according to individual cases.  Referrers will not automatically be informed of the outcome of these reviews but can be, upon request and with the family’s permission.

Last revised - October 2015