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A young carer is a young person under the age of 18 years who:
- Provides care to another person, or
- Intends to provide care for another person, and
- Is not providing that care as part of their paid employment or formal ‘voluntary work’.
A young carer may be looking after a parent, another relative or someone else they live with. This could be because their family member is ill for example. Or be struggling with a drug or alcohol dependency.
A young carer may be helping with things such as:
- Practical tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.
- Personal and physical care, such as helping their parent to wash or get out of bed.
- Emotional support.
- Caring for their brother and sisters or other young relatives in the home.
The law requires children’s services to do an assessment to find out if it is appropriate for the young carer to provide care. Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty children’s services in England to take “reasonable steps” to identify young carers in their area. This means they shouldn’t just wait for a young person or their family to come forward.
For more information about young carers and the help available for them see our Young Carers advice sheet.