Who is a young carer?
A young carer is a child or young person aged between 5 to 25 years old whose life is in some way different or restricted because they provide, or intend to provide, practical or emotional support to someone else.
What's it like to be a young carer?
The person they provide care for is often a parent, or a relative who is physically or mentally ill, frail elderly, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances. Young carers could also be supporting and caring for a disabled brother or sister.
Being a young carer can mean that sometimes it can be difficult managing all the things they feel they have to do and all the things they would like to do. This can affect young people in different ways.
Sometimes a young carer may struggle to keep up with their school work, or not feel able to join in after school activities alongside their peers.
They can feel tired and sometimes stressed and worried about the person they care for, as they fear that something might happen to them when they are not close by to keep an eye on them or directly caring for them.
It is not surprising that they can get distracted and this makes it all the more difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and homework.
Also, young carers may forget to look after themselves or feel that they are not properly looked after, such as not having a balanced diet, not eating regularly or sleeping properly or getting enough exercise.
Help for young carers
Suffolk's Strategy for identifying and supporting Young Carers (2016 to 2019) (PDF, 420KB) sets out the plan for a strategy for young carers and young adult carers.
It also includes a pathway for their identification and support, enabling Suffolk County Council to meet its statutory obligations to prevent children and young people from inappropriate caring responsibilities.
Young Carers Unlimited
Young Carers Unlimited is an information service provided by Suffolk County Council for:
- young carers
- young adult carers
This service helps to raise awareness about young carers and the issues they may face and provides information both to professionals such and health and social care workers, teachers and community groups and to Young Carers themselves.
Other support for young carers in Suffolk
Suffolk Family Carers, Young Carers Service commissioned by Suffolk County Council to provide support services for young carers.
This includes offering young carers the opportunity to:
- meet other people in the same situation
- share experiences
- engage in social activities to give them a break from their caring responsibilities