Browse By

National action plan urgently needed to protect young carers’ futures

On Young Carers Action Day (March 16 2021 – see Notes to Editor for more information), Carers Trust is calling on governments across the UK to commit to developing new cross-cutting action plans to protect the futures of children and young people with caring responsibilities.

These plans are urgently needed to address a sharp downward spiral in the mental health of over one million young carers across the UK, and the adverse impact this is having on their aspirations, opportunities and hopes for the future.

A recent Carers Trust survey revealed high levels of anxiety and stress among young carers. The survey found two thirds (67%) of young carers aged 12 to 17, and 78% of young adult carers aged 18 to 25 were experiencing increased concern for their futures since Coronavirus.

To address these challenges, national action plans should include clear actions that can be delivered at pace. They should address education, employability and health and wellbeing prospects among young people with caring responsibilities up to the age of 25.

To help make these national action plans for young carers a reality, Carers Trust is working with young carers across the UK to petition the Scottish, Welsh and UK Parliaments to ask statutory bodies to make meaningful commitments to deliver young carers’ rights across health, social care and education.

Welcoming the call for national action plans to protect young carers’ futures, world-leading researcher on young carers’ rights and Carers Trust Ambassador, Professor Saul Becker, said:

“During the pandemic, we have seen millions of people, rightly, furloughed to stay at home, paid by the government and told they must NOT work. On the other hand, carers of all ages, and especially carers under the age of 25, have been forced to stay at home because schools have closed, health and social care services have been cancelled, and young carers have taken on many of the responsibilities of statutory and other service providers, often on a full-time basis.

“It’s young carers’ turn for recognition and support. We desperately need national and local action plans to make sure that young carers are not left behind; that they are no longer ignored and invisible. We must safeguard their futures – and see this as a sound investment not a cost.”

Katharine is a young adult carer who has been caring for her mother since she was ten. She is also a member of a Steering Group for young adult carers set up by Carers Trust. She said:

“When I was just ten I remember my grandfather showing me how to use a spreadsheet so I could manage basic household expenditure and budgeting. I’ve also had to attend doctor’s meetings with my mum, and learn when to speak up so the doctor has the right information. I didn’t know it at the time, but these experiences have given me really useful skills, as well as confidence, that I know I can use in my present academic career. It was only through being a young carer that I could have developed such skills at such an early age.”

UK employers called on to protect young carers’ futures

Carers Trust is also urging UK employers to protect young carers’ futures by taking action, for example by acknowledging the unique skills and attributes young carers develop from an early age, such as time-management skills, resilience, empathy and a sense of responsibility for others.