A young carer is someone aged over 8 and under 18 who lives with and helps to care for a family member who has physical or mental health problems, learning difficulties, drug or alcohol problems or who feels that their own life is affected in some way
Young carers may help their family members by: shopping; cooking; preparing; meals; cleaning; listening to their problems; keeping an eye on them; helping them to wash or dress; taking them to the toilet; making sure they take medication; helping them to get up and down stairs and move around safely.
Some young carers manage their caring responsibilities well and enjoy the role they have. However others have told us that they need: to know they are not alone, a break from home, time for themselves, someone to talk to who will listen to them, information and advice about their relatives illnesses disabilities or conditions, a chance to do things they may not be able to do with their own family.
Some children take on caring responsibilities which put their own health and safety at risk, that interfere with their ability to make and keep friends, their own development.
Some adults who were very young carers, have told us that they feel they struggled to find the right help, missed out on being able to finish their education, have developed their own mental and physical health problems.
Facts and figures
It is estimated there are at least 175,000 young carers in Britain (and this may be an underestimate) and approximately 1,500 young carers in Calderdale.
Last year, the Young Carers Service was in contact with over 220 young carers. Most of these are girls (60%) and most caring for a parent (usually mother), but some care for a brother or sister.
The majority of adults who have care needs have a mental health problem. It is estimated that there are up to 30 young carers on roll in a typical secondary school. A number of these are likely to be having problems with some part of their education.
A "passport" helps to ensure that young people who have caring responsibilities for relatives receive the support they need from their schools.
The Young Carers Passport is a discrete way of letting their teachers and school staff know when they are struggling in school because of their caring responsibilities.
This site is for young people who are caring for someone who is ill or disabled.
For more information, visit: Young Carers Direct or phone: 0808 8020202.
Carers Trust believes in a world where the role and contribution of unpaid carers is recognised and they have access to the quality support and services they need to live their own lives.
For more information, visit: Carers Trust .
ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people.
For more information, visit: Childline.org or phone: 0800 1111.