Skip to main content

Young carer facts

There are probably more young carers out there than you think. They take on extra responsibilities, like dressing the person they look after, cooking, cleaning, shopping, collecting prescriptions. It's a lot to take on as a child. 

Here are some things you might not know about children who are carers.

How old are young carers?

young carer making food in kitchen

Carers could be as young as five

By definition, a young carer is someone under the age of 18 who looks after a family member or friend who has a physical or mental health condition, or misuses drugs or alcohol. They may also look after brothers, sisters or elderly relatives too.

We have worked with those as young as five years old but there could be child carers who are even younger.

facts about young carers

800,000

young carers aged 5-17 care for an adult or family member in the UK

27%

of young carers aged 11-15 miss school

Young carers are often hidden

Growing up should be about exploring and finding out who you are. But for young carers who have to look after a loved one, it's a little more tricky.

Having to care for someone can often mean missing school or having to bail on friends. It can put their childhood on the back burner. Many young carers, and the people around them, don't even realise they're carers. 

39% said nobody in their school was even aware of their caring responsibilities

girl smiling in front of brick wall

Make sure
you live
for yourself
Make sure you live for yourself

Young carers are often overlooked

Child carers provide vital support for their loved ones, whether this is for physical or mental health problems. However, their own mental health is often overlooked.

Before the pandemic, over one third of young carers reported having a mental health problem. During the pandemic this is likely to have got worse with over half saying they could not take a break from caring. 

young carer facts

1 in 3

young carers have a mental health issue

80%

of young carers felt more isolated during the pandemic

young carers don't get support into adulthood

What's more, many aren't properly supported as they move into adulthood. A whopping 87% don't receive the transition assessment, which is a legal requirement and helps them think about life after caring.

Our nationwide programme for young carers fights so they get proper support - whether they're thinking of going to university or college, getting more training, doing an apprenticeship or applying for paid employment. We are there to listen and empower them to take the next steps.

young girl smiling hand over mouth

Things are going upwards Things are going upwards

Molly's been looking after four members of her family since the age of 10. Since being referred to us at 14, she's grown in confidence and had time to pursue her own dreams.

Help for young carers

Young carers are determined

Through our work with young carers, we've learnt a lot about resilience. They are some of the strongest people you'll ever meet. With a little help, they achieve their dreams quicker than most.

Whether that's studying for a university degree or influencing change for other young carers, these young people are so much more than their caring responsibilities.

young carers are an absolute force to be reckoned with

girl speaks to a councillor