Young carers and young adult carers

Young carers are children and young people up to the age of 18 whose lives are affected by caring. They might be caring for a parent, sibling or other family member who may have a long-term illness or disability, mental health condition, learning disability or they might misuse alcohol and/or drugs.

Young adult carers are carers aged 16 to 24. Like young carers, young adult carers’ lives are affected by caring, but are further affected by the transitions which all young people make as they become adults. These include transitions to further or higher education and employment, as well as the physical and emotional transitions which occur at this age.

Many young carers and young adult carers are not recognised, or are ‘hidden’. Children and young people will almost always choose and wish to take a role in caring for their loved ones, but it is important that this should be a real choice and that a child or young person’s caring responsibilities do not become excessive or inappropriate.

Understandably, carrying out caring responsibilities can result in young carers becoming physically or emotionally tired. This can have a knock-on effect on their school or college work, their relationships with friends or their ability to engage in hobbies and leisure activities. Young carers can feel isolated from other children and young people and find it difficult to balance their own needs and those of the person they’re caring for.

A range of services and support exists to help families in Norfolk. Parents are encouraged to share information about the caring responsibilities carried out by children and young people. This enables workers to look at identifying additional support for the adult which will reduce the need for excessive or inappropriate caring by their children, or to provide additional care to ensure that the needs of the young carers and young adult carers are met.

You can find details of current services provided to young carers in Norfolk by visiting:  www.carersagencypartnership.org.uk or, if you wish to speak to someone, call the main helpline for carers in Norfolk: 0808 808 9876 – calls are free.