An estimated 50,000 children in Britain today regularly take on the hard work and responsibility of caring for a relative who is ill or disabled. These ‘young carers’ were, until recently, a hidden and neglected group in society, unacknowledged and unsupported. There are now over 100 young carers projects throughout Britain, and the Government’s National Carers Strategy document outlines a series of commitments designed to improve young carers’ lives.
But many excellent young carers projects have only short-term funding and professionals working with children – GPs, health care teams, teachers, social workers – still often fail to recognise young carers or to understand their problems of coping and combining caring duties at home with schoolwork and their own needs as developing young people. In this revealing book young carers speak of their experiences, their lives, their families and their sometimes difficult relationships with adult professionals. The editors explain the issues, set out current policy and put forward recommendations for future practice.