Young carers are children and young people under 18 whose lives are affected in some way by caring for another person.
You are a young carer if you support (or help to support) someone who would not be able to stay at home without your help. This might be your mum or dad, your sister or brother, your auntie or uncle or even a grandparent.
If you are aged between 16 and 25, you are a young adult carer.
The impact of caring
Helping to look after someone is a wonderful thing to do; however, it can have a big impact on your own life.
These are some of the ways that caring for someone might affect your life:
- Missing school or not having time to do your homework
- Not going to college or university because you feel you can’t leave home
- Not being able to have friends around
- Not having enough time to enjoy leisure and social activities
- Being bullied at school
- Feeling lonely and cut off from other children and young people
- Not having time to enjoy being young.
In this film young carers talk about how caring affects their lives.
Your rights as a child or young person
Every child and young person has a lot of legal rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. If you are a young carer remember you have the right to:
- Learn and have an education
- Meet with friends and join groups and clubs
- Relax and play
- To say what you think should happen and be listened to.
Help for young carers
It’s really important that you get the help you need so that you can get an education and have time to do other things you enjoy.
If you are still at school or college, tell a teacher that you are a young carer – they will be more sympathetic if you are sometimes late or can’t always do your homework on time.
If you are working, tell your employer and remember you have a legal right to (unpaid) leave in an emergency.
Contact social services (if you haven’t already done so). They will find ways to support you and the other person, including putting you in touch with a young carers support group.
Young adult carers
Young adult carers, (sometimes referred to as YACs) are carers aged between 16 and 25. Many may struggle to balance their caring role with education, employment and relationships.
If you are a young carer or a young adult carer tell your local council and your school, college or employer so they can support you in your caring role. In some services transition to young adult carers services may begin from 14 years of age.