Young carers

Young carers

A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps to look after a family member with a -

  • disability
  • long-term illness
  • mental health condition
  • drug or alcohol problem

The family member may be unable to care for themselves or anyone else or they might need extra support.

Children and young people should be recognised for the help they give to the person they care for.

It is also important that young carers are supported in their role as they often take on adult responsibilities and worries while they are children.

Young carers should have the same opportunities as other children and young people.

Young carer responsibilities

Responsibilities will be different for all young carers but they can include -

  • cooking, cleaning and shopping
  • helping the cared for person move, for example -
    • helping them out of bed
  • giving emotional support like talking or helping
  • taking younger children to school
  • helping the cared for person get dressed
  • managing money
  • giving or picking up medication
  • helping the cared for person to communicate

Impact of being a young carer

Although many young carers are proud to care for family members, being a young carer can be demanding, isolating and stressful. It’s important that young carers still get to enjoy being children, make friends, do well at school and be ambitious.

All young carers should have access to advice and support for their caring role. 

Caring tasks might affect a child or young person’s -

  • mental and physical health and wellbeing
  • school or college education, including attendance
  • social life
  • ambitions for their future