About young carers

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled, has a mental health condition or misuses drugs or alcohol.

What might a young carer do?

  • Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping.
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. 
  • Emotional support, such as 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.

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

  • It can affect a young person’s health, social life and self-confidence.
  • Many young carers struggle to juggle their education and caring which can cause pressure and stress.
  • In a survey, 39% said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role.
  • 26% have been bullied at school because of their caring role.
  • 1 in 20 miss school because of their caring role.

But young people can learn lots of useful skills by being a young carer.

How we support young carers

Carers Trust helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services delivered by Carers Trust Network Partners 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.

Early intervention

Young carer services offer a range of early intervention and prevention support to young people with caring responsibilities aimed at:  

  • Identifying and supporting young carers early.
  • Reducing inappropriate or excessive caring roles.
  • Improving young carers' physical, mental and emotional health.
  • Reducing barriers to accessing and sustaining education, training and employment.
  • Improving young carers’ life chances and helping them reach their potential.

Many young carer’s services adopt a whole family approach. Many assess and respond to the needs of the whole family by directly supporting families or by actively coordinating the support of other services.

The Children's Society website has a map of young carer projects around the UK. Use the postcode, address or county search to zoom in to find local projects.

Download our poster

Download a free poster packed with stats about young carers to help raise awareness about being a young carer.

Young Carers: Who are they? What do they do?