About young carers


A young carer is someone aged 25 and under who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support. Older young carers are also known as young adult carers and they may have different support needs to younger carers.

Find more specific information for young adult carers aged between 16-25

Young girl reading to young boy

What might a young carer do?

  • Practical tasks, like cooking, housework and shopping.
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. 
  • Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
  • Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
  • Helping to give medicine. 
  • Helping someone communicate.
  • Looking after brothers and sisters.

How many young carers are there?

  • The 2021 Census said there were approximately 120,000 young carers, aged between 5 and 17 years, in England and 8,200 in Wales.
  • Scottish Government recognises that there were 42,050 unpaid carers identified in the Carers Census in 2021-22. This is more than a 30% increase from the 31,760 unique carers identified in 2020-21.
  • This is widely believed to be the tip of the iceberg because of a small number of young carers being identified. Some estimates suggesting that as many as one in five schoolchildren are young carers with this number increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being a young carer can have a big impact on the things that are important to growing up

  • Young carers are already likely to have significantly lower educational attainment than their peers.

  • With the added complications of COVID-19, young carers have missed out on even more school than before and urgent support is needed if they are not to be left behind their peers.
  • Caring can also be an isolating experience but having the right support in place can give young carers a better chance  of succeeding in all parts of their lives. 

How we support young carers

Young Carers Action Day

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event led by Carers Trust. It raises awareness and calls for action to increase support for young people with caring responsibilities.

Specialist services for young carers

Carers Trust helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services delivered by its network of local carer organisations across the UK. They are independent charities. Activities offered include:

  • Activities and breaks.
  • Peer and community support, including young carer groups and peer mentoring schemes.
  • Information, advice and guidance, including one-to-one support and age appropriate information.
  • Emotional support.
  • Advocacy.
  • Brokerage and support planning.
  • Training in subjects such as health and safety, wellbeing and life skills.
  • Supporting families and young carers to apply for appropriate benefits.
  • Emergency planning support.
  • Whole family support.
  • Engaging young carers in informing service development.

I think I might be a young or young adult carer, where can I go for support?

The responsibilities of young and young adult carers vary greatly, so you may be eligible for support, even if you don’t feel like you do a lot of caring. If you think that you might be a young or young adult carer, get in touch with your local carer service. Support workers will be able to ensure that you receive the support you need.

There are also lots of organisation that can support young carers with a range of issues.