With a growing body of research on the situation of adult family caregivers in Germany, hardly anything is known about the situation of children who are involved into the care of their relatives. This literature study is part of a research project that intends to close this gap. Primarily, English literature of the last 15 years was analysed to gain insight into specific characteristics of young carers and their families. There is no standard definition of young carers. The prevalence of young carers has been underestimated for a long time; for Great Britain it is 1.5% of all children under the age of 18. Children provide caregiving tasks at any age, and the amount of their help grows with their age. The majority of young carers live in single-parent families, and the single parents are mostly mothers. More than half of the family members in need of care suffer from chronic illnesses that affect the body. There is a wide range of caregiving tasks described in the literature; young carers do the same as adult informal carers. However no uniform categorical system could be found, which makes comparisons between studies almost impossible. This might be due to a lack of a theoretical framework in most of the studies. Since it can be assumed, that children in Germany may become young carers as well, their situation needs to be studied under the specific circumstances of the German health care system.