This week is Carers’ Week, the main focus of which is adult carers. However, as Allison Hicks, Project Manager for Family Action in County Durham points out, as many as 700,000 under 18 year olds have roles supporting parents or siblings at home. These children often provide between 20 and 50 hours a week caring for their loved ones and are often supported by social care professionals who play a vital role in helping them at school and at home in order to make sure that they aren’t being disadvantaged by their responsibilities.

Family Action works alongside vulnerable families nationwide where one of its core efforts is to work alongside home-based family support to provide young carer services. An important area of the work carried out by Family Action in County Durham is to encourage schools to raise awareness and improve support for young carers.

Statistics show that 27% of young carers of secondary school age experience educational difficulties or miss school. This figure rises to 40% where they are caring for someone with drugs or alcohol misuse issues.

When asked what issue young carers wanted Family Action to campaign on, they overwhelmingly requested support from schools and so, during Carers’ Week, Family Action is launching a survey to gather information and views of teachers and parents.