Caring for the carers

By Nicola Aylward | 18 June 2014

NIACE strongly believes that young adult carers have the right to participate in learning and that society has a duty to support them to engage in high quality education, access the support they need and achieve their potential.

Young adult carers (aged 16-25) have an unpaid caring responsibility for someone - usually in their family and most commonly a parent or a sibling.
Caring responsibilities often begin early, when a child is as young as five or six, and gradually increase as they get older.
The tasks that young adult carers undertake are wide-ranging and can include personal care, administering medication, shopping, cooking, providing emotional support, dealing with external agencies and managing family finances.

Young adult carers are a largely ‘unseen’ group with research showing that many young people and their families are reluctant to disclose their caring responsibilities due to fear of stigma, bullying, discrimination and intervention from services. As a result, there is a widespread lack of awareness about this group of people, the difficulties they face and how they can be supported.   

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