Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 who provide care for a parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home.
They can perform the most personal and intimate of tasks for their parents or other family members, often without any help or support from welfare agencies. Many children provide care at great personal expense - they are deprived of their childhood, many miss out on educational opportunities, few have established friendships or other support networks. Young carers are at greater risk of not completing their formal education and are less able to enter into higher education reducing their life chances and increasing their social exclusion.
Young carers are often hidden, forgotten or ignored by policy makers and service providers at national and local levels. They do not feature in the literature on community care, family care and children’s rights; and young carers’ experiences and needs are not explicitly recognised in social and family policies. The long-term implications of caregiving responsibilities on young carers’ health or psycho-social development need to be further documented.
Eurocarers is committed to shed light on the challenges young carers face and the promising practices that exist to overcome these. We work towards this aim by organising events, implementing projects and advocating with and for young carers.
Eurocarers has organised different events on Supporting young carers in Europe: a study visit in Hamburg, in February 2016 (click here to read the press release) and, building on it, a workshop in Brussels in June 2016 (please find the report here). Those meetings have paved the way for the International Young Carers Conference held in Malmö in May 2017, as well as for Eurocarers advocacy work on the topic.
On 6th March, Eurocarers will co-host a meeting of the European Parliament Informal Carers Interest Group on “Young carers – challenges and solutions”, on 6th March. The agenda is available here.
Eurocarers is currently involved in two projects on young carers:
- Innovative School Education Methodologies and Tools for Guaranteeing Social Inclusion of Young Carers (EDY-Care) – leaflet available here.
In the framework of this project, we have launched a collection of good practices to promote young carers-friendly school environments. More details are available here.
- Psychosocial Support for Promoting Mental Health and Well-being among adolescent Young Carers in Europe (Me-We) - leaflet available here.
Building on the incredible energies shared during the International Young Carers Conference, we have established a Eurocarers Young Carers Working Group. The aim is to combine our efforts and resources, so that young carers’ voices are heard and policies and practice are put in place all across Europe to support them. As young carers are the experts, the agenda of the working group is driven by young carers themselves. At this stage, the group consist of 20 members (19 young carers and one young carers organisation), from 9 European countries, plus Australia).
Eurocarers developed a Policy briefing on young carers .
Eurocarers issued a press release on young carers’ rights.
If you want to know more about Eurocarers activities on young carers, please contact Francesca Centola.