Many children and young people in England provide support to family members who live with disabilities, mental or physical ill health, or misuse drugs or alcohol. This Carers Rights Day, we are putting the spotlight on young and young adult carers rights as they face unique challenges and often do not receive the support they need.
In a recent study on Reducing Barriers and Improving Access to Support for Young Carers (REBIAS-YC), researchers from the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London (KCL) partnered with Sheffield Young Carers and an advisory group of young carers from around the country to better understand the barriers facing young carers, and how these can be overcome.
In-depth discussions with over 130 young carers between the ages of 9 and 25 years old revealed which barriers young carers face including: limited access to support, services, and accessible information; competing demands on their time; nervousness and mistrust about seeking support, and a lack of understanding. These findings align with the challenges highlighted in a recently published inquiry report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Young and Young Adult Carers.
Young and young adult carers have a right to better support which meets their needs. This includes improved support for the person with care needs to share the responsibilities of the young carer; reducing the negative impacts of providing care, which may include having someone trusted to talk to; and providing clear and accessible information about support services, what to expect and what other support is available.
In this animation that has been co-produced with young carers, these and other barriers are explained in more detail, as well as what support is found helpful or is lacking . Action is needed to consistently implement the types of support that young carers and their families need and value, and listening to the perspectives of young carers is a critical first step in this process.
Watch the animation on YouTube
This study is funded by the NIHR HS&DR (project number NIHR129645). The views expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the NIHR of the Department of Health and Social Care. The project team are Nicola Brimblecombe, Madeleine Stevens and Robin Skyer (Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC), the London School of Economics and Political Science), Sara Gowen (Sheffield Young Carers) and Jo Moriarty (King’s College London), the young and young adult carer advisory group and the project steering group.