First parliamentary inquiry into young carers launched at House of Lords reception
The All Party Parliamentary Group [APPG] on Young Carers and Young Adult Carers published the first ever parliamentary report on young carers today.
The report’s findings followed an inquiry that heard from 70 individuals and organisations including young carers services, schools and parents. Most powerfully, it heard from more than 400 young and young adult carers around the country.
Many young carers and young adult carers spoke about the difficulties they encountered as a result of failing to be identified as a young carer, including a lack of support from schools, local authorities and other services.
The report also shone a spotlight on the devastating impact that a lack of support can have on young carers and their life opportunities:
- 15,000 children, including 3,000 aged just five to nine, spend 50 hours or more a week looking after ill or disabled family members.
- Despite the pressures of their caring role, many local authorities and schools are failing to identify young carers, leading to a postcode lottery of support.
- 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.
- Young adult carers are less likely to be employed than their peers without a caring role.
You can find out more about the report and its findings here:
Before today’s launch of the report in Parliament, a group of young carers and young adult carers from across the country travelled to Downing Street to hand in an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The letter, signed by over 1,250 people, highlighted the report’s findings and called on the Prime Minister for greater support.
At a packed reception for the report launch in the House of Lords, young adult carers Ruby and Emma spoke movingly about the impact of caring on their own lives. Emma revealed how she had cared for her younger brother with autism as well as for her mother after she was diagnosed with dementia.
“There has never been a time in my life that hasn’t been really hard”, she said.
Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum then reflected on the report’s findings. Duncan Baker MP who chaired the Inquiry emphasised that from the start he had wanted the inquiry to focus on how caring was affecting the life chances of so many young carers.
Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Helen Hayes MP, described young carers as being “one of the groups most overlooked within society” before saying to all the young carers in the room “you deserve to be supported.”
Sir Ed Davey MP commented that “we are still too poor at identifying young carers anywhere near early enough” and that “we need to think far more as a society about how we support these amazing people.”
And Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, David Johnston MP, reflecting on the number of children found to be caring for a family member for 50 hours or more a week, said that he “wholly supported the recommendation for early identification” of young carers.
Carers Trust would like to thank Lord Young of Cookham for kindly hosting the reception in the House of Lords today. We would also like to offer our sincere thanks to Duncan Baker MP and Paul Blomfield MP for all their tireless work in championing the APPG Inquiry and their support for young carers and young adult carers.