Who are young carers?

Young carers are children and young people under 18 years old who provide unpaid care to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances.

The tasks and level of caring undertaken by young carers can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole.

A young carer may do some or all of the following:

  • practical tasks such as cooking, housework, shopping
  • physical care such as lifting, helping up the stairs and physiotherapy
  • personal Care such as dressing, washing and helping someone go to the toilet
  • emotional support such as listening, calming someone and being present
  • household management such as paying the bills, managing finances and collecting benefits
  • looking after siblings such as putting to be and walking to school
  • interpreting for parents with hearing or speech impediments or English as an additional language
  • Administering medication such as insulin needles and preparing daily tablets.

Your rights as a young carer

Young carers and young adult carers in England have the right to information and to an assessment of the support they need from the council. The Carers Trust has produced a free guide for young carers which explains your rights as a young carer.

Support and advice for young carers

Oxleas Young Carers provides information and local resources for young carers. 

HeadScape - designed by young people in Bexley and Greenwich, a trusted website to check your feelings, do quizzes and find out if you need help and where to find it.

NHS Choices Support - how to get help from school, social workers and healthcare professionals. There are videos of young carers talking about their experiences.

NHS Carers Direct helpline - open from 9am-8pm Monday to Friday, and from 11am-4pm at weekends. Closed on bank holidays. Call 0300 123 1053.