All children deserve a childhood
Young people with caring responsibilities have all the challenges of being young, with all the responsibilities of being an adult, and they're often left to face these alone.
What is a young carer?
A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps to care for a family member, relative or friend. A young person aged 16-25 with caring responsibilities can be known as a young adult carer.
As many as 1 in 5 children and young people are young carers in the UK.
What do young carers do?
As a young carer you might support someone who has a disability, a long-term illness, or a problem with alcohol or drugs. Without this help, they would struggle or not be able to cope.
Young carer, 12 years old
Young carers often do a lot of helpful things, such as:
Cook and prepare meals
Help with the shopping
Clean around the house
Manage medicines or money
Give personal care
Help their special person move and get out of the house
Look after their siblings
Give emotional support
Keep an eye on things generally
If young carer families start to struggle financially, young carers also often take on work in addition to their caring responsibilities.
Learn more about what it's like being a young carer with Leah's story.
Impact of being a young carer
Being a young carer can make young people feel good about themselves and proud of the useful skills they learn. However, many young carers don’t see themselves as carers and miss out on getting the help and support they often so desperately need and deserve.
Young carers take on caring responsibilities not just occasionally but as part of their everyday lives, often over a long period of time, meaning they also often miss out on opportunities that other children have to play, learn and be young.
Many struggle educationally with being able to focus on school whilst overwhelmed by other worries or can be bullied for being ‘different’. They can become isolated, with no relief from the pressures at home, with 1 in 3 young carers saying that caring makes them feel stressed.
If you’re a young carer who is struggling, remember it’s perfectly okay to ask for support when you need it.
Young adult carer, 20 years old
How we support young carers
We aim to help as many young carers as we can. We help them look after their loved ones and give them time to enjoy their childhoods.
At our services across the UK we:
organise outings and activities for young carers
give young carers advice and emotional support through counselling sessions
help the family get support from social services
talk to a young carer’s school, so teachers understand their situation and can be supportive
run drop-in centres where young carers can take a break, have fun, be a child – and meet other young carers
Find help as a young carer
If you're a young person who cares for others or you’re worried about a young carer, you can explore what help you might be entitled to or you can explore our local services to see how we can help.
Search through our services for young carers and their families in your local area below if you or someone you know needs support.
Megan, young carer