The Challenge Faced by Young Carers

A recent piece of research commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England has found that a significant percentage of young carers do not receive the support they need. This lack of support is due in part to many young carers not receiving recognition for the care they provide daily. Young carers are anyone under the age of 18 who provides regular support to another person; usually a family member.

The researchers on this project calculated that around 80% of young carers do not have the necessary support they need; either due to not being flagged up to local authorities or because of a lack of resources. That four out of five young carers do not receive adequate support (or no support at all) is a staggering number. Of particular concern is the fact that there appears to be increasing numbers of young carers who are five years old or younger.

Young carers face many very difficult challenges, including isolation from their peer group and decreased life chances. Many young carers will find their education impacted as their caring duties cause them to miss time at school. Young carers may be providing care for over 15 hours a week, which has a significant impact on their ability to complete homework.

This vulnerable group of young people also often struggle to maintain friendships due to their caring commitments. Young carers tend to find it difficult to participate in normal activities for their age group, including going to the cinema and meeting up with friends, which can have a significant impact on their social skills and confidence. Young carers also face anxiety about the persons they care for, which can lead to emotional problems and longer-term mental health issues.

Due to the significant challenges young carers face, they are also more likely to become involved in destructive behaviours, such as crime, alcohol and drug abuse, which is why intervention from support agencies is so integral for these vulnerable young people.

Oxbridge Home Learning offers a diverse range of Health and Social Care distance courses for anyone who would like to work with young carers. These courses will provide you with the knowledge required to work within the social care sector. If you feel passionate about the plight of young carers and would like to make a difference in their lives, studying one of these courses would be a great place to start.