Young carers are children and young people who look after someone in their family who has a disability, a long term illness, or is affected by mental ill health or substance misuse.
Young carers may look after parents, care for a brother or sister, or another family member. The average age of a young carer is 12 and they take on responsibilities normally only expected of an adult.
What type of care do young carers provide?
- washing & ironing
- washing up
- helping to look after siblings
- taking care of pets
- managing bills/money
- helping with medication
- support with dressing
- helping to go to toilet
- help with washing
- organising appointments
- emotional support
- interpreting or signing
- keeping company
- support with eating
Young carers are known to face a variety of issues including:
- having no support due to being a ‘hidden’ young carer
- lack of understanding due to lack of awareness from peers and professionals
- educational disadvantages such as attendance and attainment issues
- mental and physical health problems due to caring role
- providing inappropriate care
- not having access to ‘normal’ childhood experiences
- being tired and appearing withdrawn
- lacking confidence
- feeling worried, stressed or angry
- isolation and loneliness
Some background stats on young carers:
According to the 2011 census, there are 1,384 young carers (children aged 5 -15) in Bristol and South Glos and 16,118 unpaid carers aged 5 to 17 years old in the South West.
Research by BBC News and Nottingham University found 22% of children provide some care for a family member with an illness or disability. Of those children, 32% were classed as doing a high level of caring, with nearly a tenth (9%) carrying out the highest amount of care.