Our young blogger Rowan writes about what life is like for young carers, and about how young carers’ rights aren’t always respected.
What is a young carer?
A young carer is a person who is 18 or under that has to care for a parent, a family member or a friend with a disability or a mental health problem. They often attend hospital and medical appointments. One in ten of these young carers have to care for more than one person. Young carers often do a lot of housework such as cleaning, vacuuming, cooking and more. Sometimes, the young carer actually takes the place of the parent or guardian. The Edinburgh Young Carers Project told me that about 40% of young carers were at primary school.
Young carers affected by caring…
Most young carers don’t think of themselves with the label of young carer, but still they are affected. A young carer does not always get access to all of their children’s rights. Some of the rights they sometimes have difficulty accessing are:
Young carers aged 10-12
I found that there were children in my school that are also young carers. I interviewed a couple of them to see what it is like for them.
Ethan, who is 11, cares for his mother who has multiple sclerosis. He told me it is sometimes frustrating as he helps night and day, hoovering, cleaning and making and serving drinks. This cuts into his free time that he wished to have.
He believes this is a disadvantage to being a young carer. He believes that a bus pass would be no use to him, because his “dad can find some time and drive him down” to his friend’s house. Ethan believes in children’s rights.
Lucy is 11 and cares for her brother and mother. She told me that it’s nice to care for her brother and mother. You have good days and bad days. She does everything around the house with her older brother and wishes for more free time.
Differently, she actually thinks a free pass is wonderful and would come in handy to have. She goes to groups for young carers and goes to the Edinburgh Young Carers Project. She believes in children’s rights.
I am 11 and I am a young carer of my mother and brother, who are the only two people in the UK that have an ultra-rare disease called Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Syndrome Type 2. I help my mother around the house and also with personal care. I also help with her drinks and medicine. I help my brother when he requires it. I also help my aunt with cooking, cleaning and drinks.
On the 26th of January there is a Young Carers Awareness Day. You can help young carers by following the hashtag #YoungCarersAwarenessDay.