Starting Well - Adverse Childhood Experiences

Young Carers


The definition of a carer, as set out in the government’s National Carers Strategy is someone who “spends a significant portion of their life providing unpaid support to family and potentially friends. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has a mental health problem or substance misuse problems” (DoH, 2008). This definition equally applies to Young Carers (under the age of 18) and Young Adult Carers (aged between 16 and 25).

For some young carers becoming a carer occurs very rapidly, but for others its gradually accrues over a period of time, until in some cases they have care responsibility for siblings as well as other family members. Many people rely on the support unpaid young carers to enable them to lead their daily lives. However many of the young people providing this support do not consider themselves carers, as relationship is simply part of their everyday life. Information provided by Carers UK in 2019 indicated that carers save the UK economy £132 billion per year.

With so many adult responsibilities, young carers often miss out on opportunities that other children have to play and learn. Young carers often struggle academically and are often targeted for bullying.  


Main Issues

Young people providing unpaid care to family members, friends or neighbours was looked at within the national census in 2011. Hartlepool was shown to have 1.01% of its 0-15 year old population providing at least one hour of unpaid care every week. This is statistically similar to 1.11% for both the England and the north east regional averages.



For 0-15 year olds providing 20+ hours of unpaid care a week, the percent for Hartlepool falls to 0.28%, which is again statistically similar to the north east rate of 0.24% and 0.21% for England. This means that roughly just over 1 in 4 (27.7%) 0-15 year olds providing unpaid care in Hartlepool do so for 20+ hours a week. For the north east region this figure is just over 1 in 5 (21.6%) and for England just under 1 in 5 (18.9%).



For young people aged 16-24 the percent providing at least 1 hour of unpaid care a week was 5.2% for Hartlepool, 4.9% for the north east and 4.8% for England.



Those providing 20+ hours of unpaid care aged 16-24 was 1.8% for Hartlepool, 1.4% for the north east and 1.3% for England. Hartlepool is percentage is higher by a statistically significant amount than both the England and north east levels.  This means that just over 1 in 3 (34.6%) of 16-24 year olds providing care in Hartlepool do so for 20+ hours a week. This compares with 28.6% for the north east and 27.1% for England.