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Fact sheet

I work with children: how do I identify a young carer?

If you work with children and young people, some of the signs that someone could be a young carer are:

  • Anxiety or concern over an ill or disabled relative. Needs to be in constant touch with home.
  • Often late or misses days or weeks off from school or youth group for no apparent reason – secretive about home life.
  • Often tired, withdrawn or stressed.
  • Isolated or a victim of bullying – either because of the situation in the family, or because they lack social skills when they are around their peers. May take on a caring role with younger children. In contrast, they may be confident with adults.
  • Behavioural problems – there is often a big difference between the young person who seems "mature beyond their years" in their home environment, where they are very protective of a disabled relative and the young person who takes out their pent-up frustration or stress at school or in a youth group.

How can I help a young carer?

The best way to provide help for young carers is to look at the whole family. In many areas, there is a specialist local service that can offer activities, breaks, listening, help with school problems and signposting for parents.

Find out if you have a local Young Carers Project. Ensure that young people know about this service and refer when you have the young carer's or parents permission.

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