New national study offers unique insight into life as a young carer

A report by Loughborough University which offers a unique insight into the lives of young carers has been published by the Department for Education (DfE).

The research, carried out by Kantar Public in partnership with Professor Jo Aldridge, Director of the University’s Young Carers Research Group, has captured the views of young carers aged 5-17 and their parents across England.

It looks at the nature of the care and support that young carers are providing; the impact of caring responsibilities on their own physical and mental health, education and development; and the types of support they receive, whether formal or informal.

The report forms part of a broader suite of research commissioned by the DfE in 2014 – including a national qualitative study of young carers and their families conducted by Professor Aldridge and Kantar Public – which aimed to serve as a baseline study of the lives of young carers in England.

Its key findings are:

  • Children are carrying out a range of responsibilities in the home, including practical household duties such as cooking and cleaning;
  • 1 in 4 children (26%) are carrying out nursing type responsibilities;
  • More than half (57%) of children are providing emotional support to parents or other relatives both inside and outside the home;
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 (19%) young carers receive a needs assessment and nearly two thirds (64%) receive no support at all (either formal or informal).

Professor Aldridge said: “The results of the survey show clearly that young carers are taking on much higher levels of responsibility both in and outside the home than children who do not have to provide care. For some children, the effects of caring are considerable, especially when caring is unrecognised and unsupported – it can have adverse consequences for children’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as well as their education and transitions into adulthood. 

“We now have important new legislation and guidance in place to support young carers and their families. Professionals in both adult and children’s services need to draw on this legislation and guidance to improve the identification, assessment and provision of support to young carers and their families in order to prevent the consequences of caring for children becoming both serious and long term.”

The lives of young carers in England. Omnibus survey research’ full report and appendices can be downloaded here.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 17/08

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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