Legislation, guidance and research

There are more than 800,000 young carers across the country. Understanding their rights and ensuring they have a platform to express themselves is an important role of professionals.

What is a young carer?

What is a young carer?

Legislation defines a “young carer” as ‘…a person under 18 who provides or intends to provide care for another person (of any age, except where that care is provided for payment, pursuant to a contract or as voluntary work).

A young carer might look after someone because they're sick, or have a disability or mental health issues. Or, if a parent or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, they may be unable to care for themselves or anyone else.

we are going unnoticed and need support to speak out

Improving rights of young carers

The Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014, both significantly strengthened the rights for young carers. They aim to assess and support children and young people from taking on excessive or inappropriate care. Our barriers and solutions resource explains how to implement the new duties to young carers and their families.

They also recognised the need to improve young carers’ transition to adulthood. Following the launch of the Carers Action Plan, we were commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify and disseminate effective practices to support, to enable young adult carers to make positive transitions between the ages of 16 and 24. You can read more about this in our Shaping our Future report.

    Regulations and guidance

    Key resources and research 

    Here are key resources to help understand the duties for young carers and their families.

    Here is key research to help you understand the needs of young carers:

    • Hidden from View — Provides a valuable insight into the daily lives and outcomes for young carers.
    • There’s nobody is there – no one who can actually help? — looks at the challenges with estimating the number of young carers and knowing how to meet their needs.
    • Young Carers Report 2016 — New study reveals that just a small fraction of young carers are receiving the support that they need.

    Family context

    Family young carers

    They've put the confidence in me