Young carers

Who are young carers?

Young carers are children or young people who care for another person. This may be someone in their family who needs looking after because they have a disability or an illness. It could be a brother or sister or a parent or grandparent. Young carers should not have to do so much caring that it makes them upset, unwell or miss school.

Caring can be because of:

  • a physical disability or terminal/long term Illness, for example, MS, arthritis, cancer or epilepsy
  • a mental illness, for example, depression, borderline personality disorder, bi-polar, or agoraphobia
  • a learning disability This includes Asperger’s, autism and ADHD
  • substance misuse, for example, alcohol or drugs including prescription drugs.

A young carer may be providing:

  • physical care: cooking, cleaning, going food shopping, un/dressing, or helping in/out of the bath/shower
  • emotional care: keeping company, giving lots of hugs/cuddles, spending time with, or providing encouragement and support, and attending medical appointments
  • monitoring situations: watching someone’s mood and supporting them with their medication. Thinking about how individuals are getting on and then altering their own behaviour to counteract changes
  • an Interpreting role. A young carer may need to provide an interpreting role for an individual for which English is a second language, or use British sign Language, Makaton, or other communication systems to advocate on their behalf.


Every young carer has the right to an assessment if they request one, regardless of who they care for and whatever sort of care they are giving. We use the ‘Young Carer’s Needs Assessment’ to assess what type of care the young carer is giving to someone else, but also to look at what the young carer needs for their own education or work, health, hobbies or activities. The assessment also asks the young carer and their parents for their views about what support they require and asks if anyone else in their network can provide additional support. 

Once we have finished checking what help the young carer needs, we will signpost accordingly, considering the level of care provided and the impact care is having on the young child’s education, health and wellbeing. Sometimes we might offer the young carer support ourselves and sometimes we will ask someone else to support the young carer and their family.

The Oxfordshire Young Carers Service

The Oxfordshire Young Carers Service works with schools, professionals and services to support young carers and their families across the county.

This information is for young carers, parents, carers and/or professionals working with young carers and their families. Telephone 07919298263.

Who to talk to

There might be a teacher, school nurse or a young carers group at your school where you can chat about how things are going at home.

Your school might be part of our Young Carers Schools Standards and already be 'Young carers Aware'.

There are an estimated two young carers in every classroom so you are not alone.

You can talk to your GP or a professional in your local community such as a youth worker about the caring you do and how you feel about it.

The Care Act 2014

Support and care is changing for young carers and their families under new legislation the Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014.

These changes mean that:

  • young carers under 18  have the right to a young carers needs assessment, no matter who they care for, what type of care they provide, or how often they provide it.
  • the assessment looks at appropriate levels of caring the young carer may be doing, the young carer’s needs for support, their other needs and wishes, their education or work, health, hobbies or activities and also looking at a whole family approach.
  • young carers aged between 14 and 19 are entitled to a young carers transition assessment that will consider how to prepare for adulthood and how to raise and fulfil their aspirations.

Young adult carer needs assessment

If you are aged 18-25 years you are a young adult carer and will be entitled to an adult  carers' assessment.

Contact us

For any other information about the Young Carers Schools Standards or information on how to support young carers please call or text the Oxfordshire County Council Young Carers Team on:

Useful local contacts


Oxfordshire County Council's website for children, young people and young adults living in Oxfordshire. The website advertises local play and leisure opportunities, clubs, services and information on how to get involved with things like Youth Parliament.

South and Vale Young Carers’ Project

South and Vale Carers offers a range of trips for young carers specifically for 8 to 13 year and 13 to 18 year olds. Trips are free for young carers to attend. All those booking onto a trip will be visited by our Project Worker in advance of going on the trip to chat through their needs and caring role. Normally one trip is arranged each month.

Monthly trips and activities are offered to give young carers a break and a chance to meet up with other young carers.

Two age groups: 8-12s, and 13-17s.

South and Vale Project can offer additional support to young carers to South and Vale Area, they are an independent charity and offer respite support.

Carers Oxfordshire

Carers Oxfordshire, is a service provided by Oxfordshire County Council for adult carers of adults in partnership with Age UK Oxfordshire.

The service aims to:

  • Make it easier for carers to find help and support
  • Listen to carers' needs and
  • Give information, advice and support to carers.

Contact Carers Oxfordshire by:

You can find information about latest carers' news, grants, breaks and local groups.

Cruse Bereavement

Special counselling for young people.

  • Tel: 0808 808 1677 (free phone helpline available Monday - Friday, 0930 - 1700)
  • Website:

Rethink Carer Support

For young carers of adults with mental health difficulties

Tel: 01865 455607

Oxfordshire Carers' Voice Forum

The voice of all carers in Oxfordshire, consultation with carers, participation and advice

Carers Voice Oxfordshire
9 Napier Court, Barton Lane, Abingdon OX14 3YT

Positive Activities Oxfordshire

Positive Activities are events, activities, clubs, groups and organisations which provide young people with places to go and things to do. They can be supportive, educational, or just fun.


Useful national contacts

The Children Society

The Children’s Society’s include project works with voluntary and statutory services to support children and young people who care for parents or siblings who suffer from chronic illness or disability.

Health information for teenagers

Carers' Line

Advice line from the National Carers' Association

Tel: 0345 573369

Caring Matters/Carers' UK

Advice service on legal aspects of care



24-hour free and confidential help line for children and young people


General youth information

Guide to Young People

Youth Net

An organisation that guides and supports young people, enabling them to make educated life choices, participate in society and achieve their ambitions.


Information Shop for Young People

Part of a national network of 'shops' initiated by the National Youth Agency. It provides a free and confidential information, advice and support service for young people between the ages of 14 and 25.


Young Minds

Telephone helpline service to parents and Carers in the UK who have a concern about their child's emotional problems or behaviour