On the occasion of European Carers’ Day, celebrated on October 6, the undersigned would like to express their continued support to giving a voice to informal carers and advocating their recognition, rights and interests.
This year, we particularly welcome the Day’s focus on young carers, i.e. children and young people under 18 who provide care, assistance, or support to a family member or a friend, who has a chronic illness, disability, frailty or addiction.
It is estimated that some 8 % of all European children and teenagers are carers, often assuming levels of responsibility which would usually be associated with an adult.
Despite this number, young carers are still largely invisible to policymakers, public authorities and service providers.
However, being a young carer can have a huge impact on a person’s quality of life and development: it can be isolating, worrying and stressful. It can be a barrier to education, generate stigma, mental health issues and social exclusion, with a lasting effect on chances later in life.
Therefore, young carers need recognition as well as practical and emotional support. It is not only a matter of human rights, it is a social investment!
Therefore, as active members of the European Parliament Informal Carers Interest Group, we call on the European Commission to include a special focus on these young carers in the upcoming European Care Strategy, announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her recent State of the Union address.
Young carers will continue to care: they deserve particular attention. We need to ensure that they can have breaks and adequate support, that they can learn and have fun and that they can have the same rights and opportunities in life as other children and teenagers (have a healthy balance between their caring responsibilities and being a child).
More info: www.carersday.eu