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'Guiding support for family carers'

Young Carers


Who are young carers?

Young carers and young adult carers are people between the ages of 13 and 25 who are providing care for a parent, sibling, friend or other close relation who has an illness or disability which may include mental illness or a problem with substance misuse. Young carers provide support in their family by helping with taking on extra, usually adult, responsibilities including dispensing medication, feeding, personal care, dressing, or making sure the bills have been paid. The level of care provided may vary depending on the family situation and the needs of the person being cared for. They may also help the family in other ways, like looking after brothers and sisters, shopping for food, doing extra washing, or preparing dinner.

Young carers have been identified as a group at risk of social exclusion, additional health problems, including mental health difficulties, and curtailed opportunities in progressing through education and the workplace. The 2014 HBSC School Survey (Ireland)[1] included a question on caring responsibilities, and reported 56,118, (or 11.3% of 10-17 year olds) to be providing care across Ireland. This is a multiple of the figure reported in the Census 2016 data[2].

We are delighted to publish two resources for young carers and the people who work with and around them, through the EPYC project. 

June 2018 Seminar Presentations

What is EPYC?

EPYCThe Empowering Professionals to support Young Carers (EPYC) project began in August 2016 with six partners from five countries coming together to share knowledge and experience in developing strategies to help professionals working with and around young people to identify, understand and better support young carers.  The project targets youth workers and education, health and social care professionals in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland who work with and around young people, some of whom may be young carers. Awareness raising tools such as posters, flyers, web resources and videos have been shared and collated in an online database (available on The eventual desired outcome of the project is increased knowledge and competence amongst practitioners to identify young carers and increase knowledge and understanding of the particular challenges they face. The multinational project was designed to develop and share innovative practices and promote co-operation and was awarded funding under the Erasmus+ youth programme. The project comleted in July 2018.

[1]Gavin, A; Keane, E; Callaghan, M; Molcho, M; Kelly, C; and Nic Gabhainn, S: The Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study 2014, Health Promotion Research Centre National University of Ireland, Galway, December 2015.

[2]Census 2016 reports 1.9% of all carers, 3,800 children, as being aged under 15 years.

Some other resources on young carers are below. 

2010 - 2014