In the United Kingdom, there are an estimated 700,000 children and 350,000 young adults who provide unpaid care, assistance and support for another family member (BBC, 2010; Carers Trust, 2016). Much work has progressed over recent decades to raise the profile of young carers and young adult carers in research, policy, and in society at large. However, there remains a great need for widespread recognition and continued support for young people with caregiving roles, particularly for those considered to be “hidden”, i.e., not in contact with support services. This research theme is committed to building increased awareness of the needs of Black and Minority Ethnic carers, those living in rural areas, those in the traveller, refugee, and recent immigrant communities, and those who identify as LGBT.
The experience of young carers in schools merits much attention as 68% of young carers report that they have been bullied, and 27% of young carers miss days at school due to caregiving responsibilities (Carers Trust, 2016). Young adult carers are at particular risk for being NEET (not in education, employment, or training). Current research at the University of Birmingham is examining the ways young adult carers navigate the life domains of education, careers, and interpersonal relationships, as well as how to best support them as they transition to later stage adulthood.
The impact of the new legal rights afforded to young carers and young adult carers through the 2014 Care Act and Children and Families Act remains unclear. Schools, colleges, and universities, NHS service providers, and those working in children and adult social services are in a unique position to work collaboratively to identify and support young carers and young adult carers. This research theme recognizes the importance of best practice models across sectors and seeks to explore new ways of working together.
TEDx presentation on Hidden Young Carers with Professor Saul Becker
BBC (2010). Number of child carers ‘four times previous estimate’. BBC News. Accessed 10/07/16 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11757907.
Carers Trust (2016). Key facts about carers and the people they care for. Accessed 10/07/16 at https://carers.org/about-caring.