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Young Carers

1. Introduction
There are about 175,000 young carers in the UK who provide care or support to a family member who is disabled, physically or mentally ill, or has a substance misuse problem.
Young carers often take on a level of responsibility that is inappropriate to their age or development.
Young carers are children who help look after a member of the family who is sick, disabled or has mental health problems, or is misusing drugs or alcohol. Their day to day responsibilities often include:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • shopping
  • providing nursing and personal care
  • giving emotional support.

With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children have to play and learn. Many struggle educationally and are often bullied for being ‘different’. They can become isolated, with no relief from the pressures at home, and no chance to enjoy a normal childhood. They are often afraid to ask for help as they fear letting the family down or being taken into care.

Young carer facts

  • The average age of a young carer is 12.
  • There are approximately 175,000 young carers in the UK, 13,000 of whom care for more than 50 hours a week.
  • More than half of young carers live in one-parent families and almost a third care for someone with mental health problem

Who is a Young Carer

A young carer can be defined as a young person under the age of eighteen who:

  • Has a responsibility for caring on a regular basis for a relative or friend who has an illness or disability; or
  • Is, by default, left with the responsibility of caring for younger siblings or, in some cases adult family members, as a result of parental illness or substance misuse.
  • Many young carers experience:
  • Low level of school attendance;
  • Some educational difficulties;
  • Social isolation;
  • Conflict between loyalty to their family and their own needs.

2. Referrals

For more information and to request a referral for a young carers assessment, please email:  or call 01782 235422.

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