A Young Carer is anyone under the age of 18 years who cares for someone, or is going to need to care for someone, because of an illness or disability. This can be for any kind of illness or disability, including mental health issues like depression, and addictions. This would be happening as part of their home life, and would not include doing it as a job or volunteering. If you're not sure if you are a young carer, ask an adult you trust like a teacher or a worker at a children and family centre.
Some of the ways young people care for someone are:
- Staying in the house a lot to be there for them
- Helping them to get up, get washed or dressed, or helping with toileting
- Doing lots of the household chores like shopping, cleaning and cooking
- Looking after younger brothers and sisters because of their or their parent's illness or disability
- Providing emotional support, for example encouraging, listening, or just being there for someone
If you think you might be a young carer, talk to your GP or someone at your school or college like a teacher, student services or your School Health Nurse. They will help you find support and further information.
Instant expert: Your teacher or whoever you tell, will talk to other services like the Locality and Community Support Service who will help them find services to support you.
Spending a lot of time caring for someone else can be stressful, and might make learning or socialising more difficult. It's important for you and your future and your family to get the best support as soon as possible.
Support Young Carers
Your school has to consider the needs of young carers. They even get inspected on it! So if you are a young carer, let your school know, so they can help.
If you are receiving any kind of service, they should check if you are a young carer. If you're not sure they know, always mention it.
Clubs and other groups are encouraged to "think young carer", so that if someone is having difficulties because they are caring for someone, they can make support available to help.
Did you know? That some activities that are available to young people with difficulties or challenges are available discounted or free.
What's it like being a young carer?
This video about the emotional experience of being a Young Carer was made in Banbury with a group of young carers and Fusion Arts.
What the law says
A Young Carer is someone under the age of 18 years who may physically or emotionally care for someone because of an illness or disability.
- Young Carers under the age of 18 years can request an assessment
- The assessment finds out what life is like for you and identifies your needs
- It also looks at risks to your health, education, relationships and more
Some assessments are completed by schools, health nurses and some are completed by Children's Social Care. The assessment takes into consideration your wishes and needs and makes recommendations.
Young Carers groups
Some school have Young Carer's groups. When you tell people you are a Young Carer, you will be told about this and other support available.
There are also local and national support groups, who can help with advocacy, social opportunities, opportunities to have your say and more.