Little is known about the experiences of children living in families affected by severe and enduring mental illness. This is the first in-depth study of children and young people caring for parents affected in this way. Drawing on primary research data collected from 40 families, the book presents the perspectives of children (young carers), their parents and the key professionals in contact with them.
Children caring for parents with mental illness makes an invaluable contribution to the growing evidence base on parental mental illness and outcomes for children. It:
· is the first research-based text to examine the experiences and needs of children caring for parents with severe mental illness;
· provides the perspectives of children, parents and key professionals in contact with these families;
· reviews existing medical, social, child protection and young carers literatures on parental mental illness and consequences for children;
· provides a chronology and guide to relevant law and policy affecting young carers and parents with severe mental illness;
· makes concrete recommendations and suggestions for improving policy and professional practice;
· contributes to the growing evidence base on parental mental illness and outcomes for children and families.
Jo Aldridge is a Research Fellow and co-founder of the Young Carers Research Group, Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University, England. She has researched and written extensively on children with caring responsibilities within the family and on children's rights.
Saul Becker is Professor of Social Policy and Social Care and Associate Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University. He has researched and published widely on community care, poverty and social care, social security and young carers.
Contents: Introduction; Parental mental illness and young caring: research and prevalence; The effects of mental illness on parents and relationships with their children; Children's experiences of caring for parents with severe and enduring mental illness; The role and responsibilities of professionals: services and support for young carers and parents with mental illness; Towards a systemic approach: ways forward and conclusions.
"... essential reading for all those concerned with children and young people who care for parents with mental illness." ChildRight
"With its critique of earlier literature, its new evidence and its useful overview of law and policy, this important book needs to be widely read and translated into practice." Mental Health Today
"... important reading for anyone working in the mental health field." Family Matters
"This book deserves to be widely read by academics, policy makers, students and all people working within mental health and children's services." Journal of Social Policy
"This is a valuable and readable contribution to the field and offers an opening into a hidden area for researchers, service providers and policy makers." Child and Family Social Work
"This is an important study that sees children not as passive recipients of care but as active in the social world. Academics, students, policy makers and those working with children will learn much from this book." Pam Foley, School of Health and Social Welfare, Open University