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All-party parliamentary group inquiry lays bare the Impact on life opportunities of young carers

An inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Young and Young Adult Carers has revealed the devastating impact caring has on the life opportunities of the UK’s young people.

The inquiry was led by Duncan Baker MP, and supported by a group of 11 youth advisors (including 2 inquiry co-chairs) from across England, the APPG's chair, Paul Blomfield MP and the Carers Trust. The inquiry lays bare the challenges facing an estimated one million young carers and many more young adult carers across the UK.

The inquiry started over five months ago and has heard powerful evidence from over 70 organisations/stakeholders and more than 400 young carers and young adult carers. 

The inquiry received alarming evidence showing 15,000 children, including 3,000 aged just five to nine, spend 50 hours or more a week looking after someone because of an illness, disability or addiction.

Report findings

  • Some young carers have to wait 10 years before being identified and the average waiting time to be identified for support was three years.
  • Being a young carer has a knock-on effect on school attainment and attendance, with young carers missing 27 school days per year on average.
  • Young adult carers are substantially (38%) less likely to achieve a university degree than their peers without a caring role. Those caring for 35 or more hours a week are 86% less likely.
  • Young adult carers are less likely to be employed than their peers without a caring role.
  • Young people with caring responsibilities have a higher prevalence of self-harm. Of children who do self-harm, young carers are twice as likely to attempt to take their own life than non-carers.

Duncan Baker MP, Chair of the inquiry on the findings

Our inquiry has heard truly concerning evidence from young carers and those who support them. Some young children spend 50 hours a week caring, while young adult carers have their chances of getting good GCSE results, going to university or getting a job drastically reduced by their caring role."

"The wildly uneven support available across the country shows an urgent need for the Government and Parliament to work together to transform the landscape."

“It’s up to all of us to give these young people a better start in life so we also need local authorities, health providers, schools, employers, and regulators to join in and help young carers."

"This is why the All-Party Parliamentary Group is calling on the Government for a national carers strategy to co-ordinate support right across the country.

The full report

Read the full report
Read the press release on the inquiry report

The inquiry report recommendations

  1. A cross-government National Carers Strategy with a dedicated section and resourced action plan relating to young and young adult carers.
  2. The Government should commission an independent 10-year review of the difference the Children and Families Act 2014 and Care Act 2014 have made for unpaid carers.
  3. The Government should work with young and young adult carers to set out its immediate plans to improve early identification, increase access to support for young carers and reduce the numbers providing inappropriate or excessive levels of care.
  4. The Government should formally support the development and implementation of the first UK-wide Covenant for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers.

Carers Trust CEO, Kirsty McHugh, responds to the inquiry report

“This damning report, supported by Carers Trust, should be a wake-up call that young carers are being horribly let down by the system. They are facing huge disadvantages when it comes to education, job prospects and wellbeing, all because they put their loved ones first."

"As the social care system struggles to cope with demand, these young people are having to fill the gaps. Support needs to be ramped up across the board and there’s a critical need for a long-term strategy to ensure a fair future for every young carer.”