A young carer is a young person who cares, unpaid, for a person who has any type of physical or mental illness, physical and/or mental disability or misuses substances such as alcohol or drugs. The age of a young carer varies between countries. For example, in Australia a young carer is a person under the age of 25 years old,[1] while in the United Kingdom it is under 18.[2]

14-year-old young caring girl
YoungCarers tucking1 bw.jpg

The role of young carersEdit

Young carers discuss some of their work, problems and plans

The roles taken on by a young carer are exhaustive and are carried out often behind closed doors on top of the normal pressures of a young persons life. The care they give may be practical, physical, and emotional. Responsibilities may range from providing practical support such as helping to cook, clean or wash, giving personal care, emotional support, providing medication or helping with financial chores.

Who young carers care forEdit

The person they care for may be a parent, a partner, their own child, a sibling,[3] another family member, a friend or someone who does not necessarily live in the same house as them.

Support for young carersEdit

There are support programs to assist young carers both emotionally and financially with day-to-day tasks and making decisions. These programs offer face-to-face counselling, online programs, and phone helplines.[4][5][6][7]


There are estimated to be around 272,000 young carers in Australia.[8]

Little Dreamers Australia is Australia's leading Young Carer organisation, and is an independent not-for-profit that supports Young Carers across Australia.[9]

Each Australian state and territory has a carer association that assists unpaid young carers and can be reached on 1800 242 636.[10] The Young Carers Network is a national website that provides young carers with information on their local support services, helpful resources and a platform to share their story and opinions.[11]

United KingdomEdit

According to the Carers Trust, in 2016 there were around 700,000 young carers in the UK[12] which is approximately 1 in every 12 teenagers and around 2 in every classroom. Some support programmes for young carers have been cut due to austerity. The amount of support young carers get varies from area to area and is subject to a postcode lottery.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About". Young Carers Network. Carers Australia. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  2. ^ "About young carers". carers.org. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  3. ^ "Teen Siblings Page". Siblings Australia. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  4. ^ "Find a support service". Young Carers Network. Carers Australia. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  5. ^ "Support for young carers". Carer Gateway. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  6. ^ "Who can help young carers?". NHS Choices. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  7. ^ "Are you a young carer?". COPMI - Children of Parents with a Mental Illness. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  8. ^ "Australia's Welfare Report 2017". Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  9. ^ http://www.littledreamers.org.au
  10. ^ "Find a support service". Young Carers Network. Carers Australia. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  11. ^ "About". Young Carers Network. Carers Australia. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  12. ^ "About young carers | Carers Trust". carers.org. Archived from the original on 1 October 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  13. ^ Being a young carer BBC

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit