Home | Parents | Young carers

Young carers

What is a ‘young carer’?

A young carer is under 18 and helps to look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem. A young carer may help to look after a parent or care for a brother or sister.

They may do extra jobs in and around the home, such as cooking, cleaning or helping someone get dressed and move around.

They may also give a lot of physical help to a brother or sister who's disabled or ill.

Along with doing things to help a brother or sister, they may be giving emotional support, too.

Your choices about caring

Some people start giving care at a very young age and don't really realise they're carers. Other young people become carers overnight.

If someone in your family needs to be looked after, you may really want to help them. But a young carer, shouldn't be doing the same things as adult carers.

Nor should they be spending a lot of time caring for someone, as this can get in the way of doing well at school and doing the same kinds of things as other children or young people.

Young carers' rights

If you or your parents request it, a social worker from your local council must visit to carry out a young carer's assessment.

This assessment is different from the one adult carers have. It'll decide what kind of help you and your family might need.

Even if the council has already carried out one of these assessments, they must do another if you or your parents feel that your needs or circumstances have changed.

A young carer's assessment can determine whether it's appropriate for you to care for someone else, and takes into account whether you want to be a carer.

The social worker must also look at your education, training, leisure opportunities and views about your future.

For advice and support with care issues, call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.

If you're deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing or have impaired speech, contact the Carers Direct helpline using the textphone or minicom number 0300 123 1004.

Remember, you can always contact school and we can help put you in touch with the right people