Unidentified and unsupported: Plea to find hundreds of thousands of hidden young carers

Hundreds of thousands of young carers – many aged under 9 and some as young as 5 – are still going unidentified in schools with devastating consequences for their education, wellbeing, and future prospects.
Image: Adobe Stock - Image: Adobe Stock

An inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Young Carers and Young Adult Carers has warned that official figures drastically underestimate the true number of young carers in the UK.

A young carer is someone aged under-18 who cares for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, mental health, or an alcohol or substance misuse problem, cannot cope without the young carer’s support.

The 2021 census identified 127,176 young carers, while the 2023 schools census put the figure at 38,983 (for young carers aged 5 to 16).

However, the inquiry’s report – which was published this week – estimates that 10-13% of the pupil population could have caring roles. This would equate to two in every classroom or as many as one million young carers.

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