Young carers: support

Last updated: 26 October 2020

If you're a young carer (under 18 or 18 and at school) you can get help, support and advice from your local young carers service.

How you help

You might look after a family member or a friend with things like:

  • shopping
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • personal care – such as getting dressed
  • talking to them and trying to understand their feelings

The person you care for might have:

  • an illness
  • a disability
  • a mental health condition
  • a drug or alcohol addiction

As a young carer you may have more responsibility than many of your friends have. This can make having time for yourself difficult.

Your rights

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 gives you rights as a young carer to help and support.

Understanding legislation can be tricky. But the Carers' Charter helps explain what your rights are as a young carer under this Act.

You can also use the Jargon Buster to understand what is being talked about.

Young Scot also has information about how the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 might help you if you are a young carer.

What you might need help with

There are many aspects to your life you might need support and advice on, such as:

If you're a bit older, you might also need help with:

  • money
  • work or training
  • college or university

Carers in education

School

If you're still at school you can speak to any of your teachers or guidance and support staff. They'll be able to help you with what support the school can offer.

College or university

If you're at college or university you're no longer classed as a young carer under the Carers (Scotland) Act. But you still have the right to get support.

Most colleges and universities have a student support department. They can give you advice about how to balance study and your other responsibilities.

Other organisations that can help include:

If you've been attending a young carer's service, they can also support you to make choices about further and higher education. They can also help with moving to the adult carer centre.

You can also ask for your Young Carer Statement to be changed to an Adult Carer Support Plan.

Going Higher In Scotland is Carers Trust Scotland's campaign to support student carers in higher education.

Support from your local social care department

Health and social care services should offer the best services to the person you're looking after, which will help you in your role.

Ask your local council's social work department or young carers' service for a Young Carer Statement – if you're 18 or under – to help find out what help you might need.

Your GP can also offer help. If you're at school, your teachers or school nurse should also be able to support you.

Helplines

There are also helplines that let you chat to someone about anything worrying you. Childline is for young people and it's confidential. Call them on 0800 1111 anytime, day or night.

Getting a break

As well as being a carer, you might also go to school, college, university or work. This can be a lot to cope with.

It's important you have time for yourself to see your friends and enjoy your interests and hobbies, and get a break from your caring responsibilities.

Social services should be able to organise this for you. Shared Care Scotland can also give you information on getting a break.

Young Scot: young carers' package

Young Scot offers a young carers package with:

  • digital vouchers
  • discounts
  • opportunities to help you relax and have fun

The package is for all young carers age 11 to 18 years old.

You can get the younger carers package by registering for a Young Scot membership.

You can also find further information about young carers on the Young Scot website.

Further information

Find more information for young carers and young adult carers on the Care Information Scotland and Young Scot websites.