There are more than 166,000 young carers across the country. We raise awareness of their needs, campaign for policy change, support schools, and work to see that these young people get the future and support they deserve

A young carer featured in Hidden - photograph by Max Alexander

A young carer featured in the Hidden exhibition

Who are young carers?

The official definition of a young carer is '…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).' Children and Families Act 2014 Section 96.

These young carers are forced to grow up early and miss out on the same opportunities as other children because they care for family members who are disabled or chronically ill, or for adults who are misusing alcohol or drugs.

According to the 2011 census data, the most recent official data, the number of young carers rose by 20% compared with ten years before.

Some of these children are not only losing their childhoods they are also missing out on vital school and training, which will have a negative impact on the rest of their lives. Find out more in our report Hidden from View: Experiences of young carers in England.

In April 2014, two new laws, the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014, came into effect with regards to young carers and their families, particularly around the right to an assessment of their needs for support. The rights afforded to young carers 'will be extended to all young carers under the age of 18 regardless of who they care for, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it.' – The Care Act and Whole Family Approaches, 2015.

Include: Supporting young carers

Our Include service works with voluntary and statutory services across the country to support young carers. We campaign for change and promote best practice with central and local government.

We also help young carers by making sure they can have breaks from their responsibilities and by giving young carers a platform to share their experiences and raise awareness about the issues they face.

We aim to:

  • develop a national focus for young carers, their families and those who work to support them
  • promote common standards
  • encourage whole family working. 

Working together with a variety of organisations we:

  • have  a contacts database of young carers projects across England
  • organise training events and regional conferences
  • have developed best practice regarding whole family working and have published guidance, leaflets, information packs and informed recent changes in legislation and guidance for young carers and their families
  • organise the annual Young Carers Festival 
  • develop online resources for practitioners to identify and support young carers and their families
  • enable young carers to have their voices heard through the online safe social network for young carers 
  • support children and young people to have their voices heard within Parliament and  present to Ministers
  • Support over 200 young carer ‘Champions’ to communicate and share their stories and advocate for the things that matter most to them in the Young Carers in Focus  
  • Have produced a comprehensive award program for schools supporting young carers 
  • work directly with local authorities to support the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2014 with regards to young carers and their families
  • Provide training and consultancy to Local Authorities, Health, Statutory and Voluntary organisations to implement best practice and improvedelivery, identification and support for young carers, those they care for and the whole family.  

Visit our Include service's website to find a wealth of information and resources for young carers, families and professionals.

Hidden exhibition national tour

Hidden is a compelling portrait exhibition that tells the story of England’s 166,000 young carers – the official figure that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The exhibition launched in February 2015 in London and toured England through early 2017.

  • Warrington - 6-29 January, Pyramid Gallery. Address: Pyramid Arts Centre, Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL
  • Birmingham - 1–29 February 
  • Wolverhampton - 16-17 February - The Workspace, All Saints Action Network,  All Saints Road, Wolverhampton, WV2 1EL
  • London Coin Street Community Builders - 2 March - London Coin street 
  • Luton - 5 March - Stockwood Discovery Centre, London Road, Luton LU1 4LX 
  • Cambridge – 29-30 March - St John’s College
  • Cambridge – 31 March – 2 April- Ely Cathedral
  • Peterborough - 16-26 May - Peterborough Cathedral
  • Chelmsford - 28 May- 3 June- Chelmsford Cathedral, Essex CM1 1TY
  • Winchester - 1 June - 17 July - Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire SO23 9LS
  • Henley Festival - 6-10 July - Henley 
  • Sandwell- 11- 22 July- The Council Chambers, Sandwell Council House B69 3DE 
  • Guildford - 22-28 July - St Martin of Tours Church, Church Street, Epsom, KT17 4PX
  • London - WHY Festival, South Bank  19th -23rd October
  • Salford - Lowry Theatre  15th – 24th November
  • Rutland – Oakham Museum  24th January – 7th February
  • Stockton-on-Tees - ARC 4th - 11th March

In Hidden, award-winning photographer and former young carer Max Alexander captures the resilience, determination and aspiration of 24 children and teens who care for a loved one. The launch of the exhibition, at the Oxo gallery in London, gained huge support, with over 2,000 people visiting in ten days. Now the Big Lottery funded Young Carers in Focus(YCiF) is sharing the powerful portraits and stories from young carers in galleries, events and public spaces across the country. The aim is to make sure the experiences of young carers do not remain hidden from society.

A fantastic collection of celebrities like Jo Whiley, Jade Ewen and Richard McCourt are supporting and part of Hidden. 

Read Jo Whiley's and Jade Ewen's stories. 

The Young Carers Festival

The Young Carers Festivals provide young people with the opportunity to have fun, relax, socialise and forget their responsibilities for a weekend

Young Carers in Schools Award

Young Carers in Schools is an England-wide initiative that equips schools to support young carers and awards good practice.


The Include service is home to the national young carers’ initiative, reaching out to young carers within all communities.