Learn about Young Carers

Definition of a Young Carer

Young Carers are children and young people under 18, whose lives are restricted in some way because of the need for them to give care to another person (usually a family member) who is chronic illness, has a disability (All Types), is experiencing mental ill health, affected by alcohol or drug misuse, or a critical or Terminal condition.

The BBC estimates that there are about 700,000 young carers in the UK. Some Young Carers who have been identified are as young as 5 Years old. Carers Trust UK predicts there are 1 in 5 Young Carers in the Uk and rising.

A young carer has the right to be supported regardless of the extent of the caring role; whether they care for someone every day or only some of the time.

They may not be the main carer but supporting by taking on household tasks or minding siblings whilst the parent or another adult is the main carer for the person with care needs.

A young carer may have a special educational need, long-standing illness or disability themselves.

The difference between young carers and other young people who help in the home is that young carers are often responsible for someone else in their family in a way that most other young people are not. 

Young Carers may gain many skills through their caring role for example; budgeting, prioritising, increased empathy and deeper understanding of others.

Young Carers could be doing

Young Carers often have greater responsibility than most children of the same age, in one or more of the following areas;

  • Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework or shopping
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed or helping with mobility
  • Emotional support, such as talking to someone who is distressed. They might help others to feel ok putting their own needs last
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress
  • Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions
  • Helping to give medicine
  • Helping someone communicate
  • Looking after brothers and sisters

Some of the effects of being a Young Carer

It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self confidence, many struggle to manage their education, working life and caring role which can cause pressure and stress.

  • Feeling “different” and isolated from their friends / peer group
  • Lack of time for homework, play, sport or leisure activities
  • Feeling that no-one understands or listens
  • Conflict between their needs and those of the person for whom they are caring, leading to possible feelings of resentment
  • Health problems including headaches, stress related illnesses, lack of sleep, stress, anxiety
  • Underachievement at school

Life as a Young Carers (To be Added soon)


Want to learn more

Southend Carers e-handbook – If you would like to learn more about young carers, useful website, carers rights and the responsibilities of the local authority and schools for supporting young carers then please visit the Carers e-handbook.