Some children may have extra care responsibilities at home, supporting a family member with physical or emotional needs. This can sometimes be because of a sudden illness or accident.
Taking on the role of carer can affect a child’s everyday life. A young person in this situation needs extra support and understanding from the adults around them.
You or the child may not realise that they are a young carer.
Your child may be a young carer if they:
If the child is between 18 and 25, they are a young adult carer.
It’s not always obvious that a child is a young carer. They may not appear to be caring directly for the family member or friend in need. Instead, they might take on extra chores, or provide support and practical help to other family members.
Young carers take up support roles such as:
A young carer may not do all these activities, and a child doing some of these things will not always be a young carer. Many children will take on chores as an everyday part of family life, which can support learning and independence, but working beyond this may mean a child is a young carer.
Being a young carer may lead a child or young person to:
A child or young person may also develop new skills from a caring role. This can include more empathy for others, better communication, and learning how to advocate on behalf of someone with care needs.
You or your child can request an assessment by a social worker from your local council. This will look at what support a child or young person and their family needs. Children and young people can also all get help with:
The assessment considers the child’s wishes and if it’s appropriate for the child to be a carer. Find your local social care team on your local council website.
If you think your child or another child is a young carer, try to make sure they have support in their day-to-day life. It may be helpful to:
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