Posted: 30 January 2020

Young Carers Awareness Day: 7 facts you might not know about young carers

Young Carers Awareness Day is an opportunity to recognise and raise awareness of all the young people who take time out of their childhood to care for a friend or family member. 

The responsibilities that young carers take on are extremely demanding and often go unnoticed. In an attempt to build a greater understanding, we've compiled a list of 7 facts you might not know about young carers.

1. There are more than 166,000 young carers aged 5-17 in the UK

This figure is based on a 2011 census and does not account for many young people who care for someone but have not yet been identified. The figure is now estimated to be closer to 800,000. On top of this, there are more than 314,000 young adult carers aged 16-24 in England and Wales. 

2. There is no lower age limit for children caring for a friend or family member

Young carers are defined as a person under 18 who helps look after someone who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol. We have worked with young carers who talk about taking on caring responsibilities as young as 5 years old. However, the legal definition of a young carer means that caring roles could start even younger. Despite so many being under the age of 16, financial support in the form of Carer's Allowance is only available when they turn 16.

3. As many as 27% of young carers aged 11-15 miss school

It's reported that over one quarter of young carers are forced to miss school and experience educational difficulties due to their caring responsibilities. What's more, 39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was even aware of their caring responsibilities. 

4. Young carers deal with things most people don't until they reach adulthood

Young carers' responsibilities vary greatly but many will have to take on difficult roles that many of us may never experience in a lifetime. Like adult carers, this may include offering emotional support to parents, managing the family budget, collecting prescriptions and many more.

5. Over one third of young carers reported having a mental health problem

Research by Carers Trust and the University of Nottingham found that almost a third of young carers reported that their own physical health was 'just OK', whilst 38% reported having a mental health problem.

6. Young carers need more support as they move into adulthood

Only 13% of young carers who have been looking after a friend or family member receive a Young Carers Transition Assessment to support them in adulthood. 

7. There is a festival specifically for young carers

Every year, there is a Young Carers Festival where thousands of young carers get together to have fun, make new friends, and raise awareness of the issues that are important to them. The festival-goers have also been known to break a few world records. Check out the festival page to find out more. 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOUNG CARERS

By Kaja Zuvac-Graves
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