Skip navigation

“I just realised that we never really show how grateful we are that you dedicate your time to our family, without you me and my mum probably wouldn't be on the way to mending our relationship so thank you and of course its nice for us to make time to spend together, we couldn't do it without you"

A young carer, Islington

There are an estimated 6.5 million carers in the UK, and of these over 400,000 are Young Carers aged 0 -24 according to the 2011 census. Increasingly a caring role is being taken by children as young as five to ten years old.

Without support, young carers’ educational achievement and development can be significantly affected, with little time to do homework, coursework, attend open days or socialise with friends. There can also be a significant impact on the young person’s mental health and wellbeing.

Changes to the Children and Families Bill entitle young carers to request a statutory assessment of their caring role from April 2015. This in turn will include an assessment of need for the person for whom they are caring.  We are delighted to be involved with various local authorities in developing their workforce in preparation for the new requirements.


What to do if you think you might be a young carer or want to find out what support there is?

Family Action runs young carers services in Darlington, Leeds, County Durham (The Bridge), Islington and CamdenRoyal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (Young Carers Personal Budgets only), Newham, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead, however there are many other young carers services and support available in each borough and council across the UK. To find out what your local area  may offer and who can support please go to your local council’s website or call them and ask .

A young carer – your rights

Read Esme’s story, a young carer’s experience with Family Action


Young carers in schools

Young carers can often be difficult to identify due to the stigma around the issue. A positive culture where young carers and their families are respected and valued by other young people, staff and the wider community is crucial to ensuring young carers and their families feel safe and confident to access support.

Young carers may not recognise the description of themselves – school assemblies are a good way of educating the whole school on the challenges they face.

There are a number of factors which may help to flag a young carer, but it is important to remember some young people may not display any of these behaviours:

  • poor and erratic attendance
  • underachievement
  • poor homework or homework missing
  • aggression
  • lack of cooperation or withdrawn behaviour
  • lack of parental interaction with school
  • a reluctance to talk about home life.

Schools can help support these pupils in a number of ways:

  • a named member of staff as Young Carers lead to implement a young carers’ policy
  • grace for lateness
  • use of office phone to call home
  • flexibility on homework deadlines
  • time for students to speak one-to-one to support worker
  • peer support group
  • improved communication on transition to continue to support young carers from primary into secondary school
  • having a card on school they can show to identify them as a young carer so they don’t have to repeatedly explain their circumstances


“I just realised that we never really show how grateful we are that you dedicate your time to our family, without you me and my mum probably wouldn't be on the way to mending our relationship so thank you and of course its nice for us to make time to spend together, we couldn't do it without you"

A young carer, Islington

Our services

Family Action runs a number of Young Carers Support Services across England taking a whole family approach and working collaboratively with parents, children and young people, the wider community, schools and statutory services.

The services differ according to local need and provision but include direct work with young people and their parents providing:

  • Parenting support to strengthen parenting skills, capacity and confidence in order to reduce the caring role and the impact for the child or young person
  • Help to access other services in the community
  • Advocacy on behalf of the young carer and their family e.g. with housing, social care services
  • Information e.g. about a parent’s illness or disability
  • Support with any issues at school
  • Workshops run in partnership with further education organisations focusing on career opportunities
  • A listening ear and arranging counselling if needed
  • Group work, regular clubs or individual work depending on what each child/young person needs e.g. chill out groups,  theatre groups
  • Activities with other young carers or children and young people in the community to give them a break and have fun, e.g. canoeing, pond-dipping, cinema visits
  • Chances to have new experiences, learn new skills and be involved in how the service is run, e.g. trips during Easter and summer holidays; and including whole family activities to strengthen family relationships
  • Structured time limited child or young people and family sessions
  • Programmes designed to develop self esteem and reduce the impact of the caring role on emotional wellbeing
  • Peer mentoring
  • Lobbying on behalf of young carers

Some projects work within schools with children, providing counselling sessions or lunchtime discussion groups and raising awareness of the challenges young carers face.

In addition there are often special holiday activities and outings for all the whole family, emphasizing the importance of parent/child relationship.

Family Action’s projects often work with children in their homes, providing individual support and information to help children to understand their parents’ illness or disability and to express and understand their own feelings about their situation.


Our impact

The outcomes and impact of the Family Action Young Carers services are significant and include:

  • Reduction in inappropriate caring levels and feelings of responsibility
  • Reduction in isolation and loneliness
  • Reduced anxiety and stress through using informed child friendly explanations
  • Increase in self esteem and emotional resilience
  • Improved educational attainment including attendance and concentration
  • Improved parent child relationships
  • Development of life skills and opportunities for children and young people and their families
  • Strengthened bridge between families and adult social care resulting in a reduction in the caring role
  • Increase in the health needs of children and young people being met

We meet commissioners’ individual data requirements to monitor and evaluate the impact of our services through qualitative and quantitative data collection.

We use nationally recognised tools specific to Young Carers – Measures of Caring Activities and Outcomes (Becker(s) and Joseph 2008). These tools; primarily the Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities (MACA-YC18) and Positive and Negative Outcomes of Caring (PANOC-YC20), measure the level and impact of caring and are also used as pre and post-intervention baselines to measure change and outcomes of support.

The results of these tools are combined with a wider family assessment and/or accredited outcome evaluation tools such as:

  • CAF or based on CAF domains
  • Family Star/Children’s Star/Teen Star
  • Questionnaire/feedback forms
  • SOUL
  • Parental Satisfaction Scales
  • Index of Family Relationships
  • Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale
  • Depression rating scale
  • Goodman’s strengths and difficulties questionnaire
  • Monitoring of school attendance rates
  • Monitoring of NEET for 16 – 18 year olds

Kensington and Chelsea Young Carers Evaluation 2011

In your area

We deliver services across the country. Search for a service local to you.
Find us

Contact us

For more information about our Young Carers Services or any other Family Action services please contact us on….

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7254 6251