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Minister for Social Care with young carers

Recognition in schools vital to help young carers thrive

Cydnabyddiaeth mewn ysgolion yn hanfodol er mwyn helpu gofalwyr ifanc i ffynnu

Minister for Social Care Dawn Bowden heard from young carers during Carers’ Week about the importance of being identified, as a first step to accessing support in school.

There are more than 22,500 young carers and young adult carers in Wales –almost two carers in every classroom. 

A third of carers under 25 report struggling to balance their caring responsibilities with school, college, or university work. Some young carers spend up to 50 hours per week looking after a family member with an illness or disability.

Minister for Social Care, Dawn Bowden said:

“It is important schools and colleges are aware of students with caring responsibilities, and that young carers are recognised so they can receive the appropriate support.

“Young carer ID cards can help young carers easily identify themselves to teachers and education staff, helping to connect them with the services they need and helping them to achieve their full potential.”

Young carer ID cards mean young carers do not need to repeatedly explain their circumstances to different staff and help them to access the support and recognition they require.

Support in schools can include counselling, a designated staff member to provide support, and flexible arrangements where needed. 

Every local authority in Wales has a Young Carer ID card scheme in place.

The Minister added:

“Young carer ID cards are a useful means to help identify and respect the specific needs of young carers. I hope to see them used consistently in schools in Wales, so young people have the confidence to ask for help when they need it.”

A young carer said:

“I use my young carer ID card to let the teachers know I’m a young carer and that I sometimes need support or extra time to get tasks done.

“The school have got a great young carers group, and we all support each other. Every young carer has the right to support in school and teachers who understand what it’s like to be a young carer.”

Director of Carers Trust Wales, Kate Cubbage said:

“Young carers in recent years are providing more hours of care than ever before, all alongside classes, homework and trying to keep in touch with their friends in school.

“Using the young carers ID card in school is helpful as shorthand to explain the caring role and can be the first step to accessing support to enable them to thrive.

Many schools in Wales have carers’ leads and will be connected with their local carer organisation, that can wrap around the young carer both in school and in the community.”

Notes to editors

Carers Week runs from 10-16 June 2024

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

This year’s theme is ‘Putting carers on the map’.

Young Carer ID Card Scheme

  • The national scheme has been funded by Welsh Government and is operated by all 22 local authorities.
  • A refresh of the scheme will commence in October 2024.
  • Young carers should check their local authority social care web pages for details on how to obtain the card. More information on Carers Trust Wales website What We Do - Young Carers ID Card | Carers Trust Wales

About young carers in Wales

  • The 2021 Census figures indicated that there were 22,550 unpaid carers under the age of 25 in Wales. Of these there were 8,230 young carers (under 18) and 14,320 young adult carers (18-25)
  • Since the 2011 Census there has been a marked increase in the proportion of children and young adults who are reporting they provide significant levels of care, namely 20 hours or more per week (increase from 15% to 27%) and also 50 hours or more per week (increase from 12% to 15%).
  • The data also highlighted that young carers and young adult carers in Wales were more likely to be living in areas of high deprivation, compared to their peers without caring responsibilities.
  • A 2023 Carers Trust survey of carers aged under 25 showed 33% always or usually struggle to balance caring with school, college, or university work. Two-fifths (40%) said they don’t get the help they need to balance caring and learning.