Young carers

A young carer is a child or young person under the age of 18 whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance or support to a sick or disabled relative at home. The day to day responsibilities of a young carer often include cooking, cleaning, shopping, providing emotional support, providing nursing and personal care.

If you are a young carer aged under 18 it is important that you get the support you need.

Assessments for young carers

A young person who cares for someone may be entitled to an assessment.

In order to assess support requirements for the young carer a UNOCINI (Understanding the Needs of Children in Northern Ireland) assessment will be carried out with the young person.

For further information on support available to young carers, please telephone Cross Roads, Young Carers Scheme on 028 91814363 or Barnardos Young Carers Scheme on 028 79631344.

Support for young carers

If you are a young carer, the support available to you should mean that:

  • you should not have to carry out a regular and substantial amount of caring for a person with disabilities
  • you do not take on similar levels of caring responsibilities as adults

Support at school

There are many ways your school can help. You could be allowed to use a phone during breaks and lunchtime so you can check on the person you are looking after.

The school could also put you in touch with your local young carers service or get a young carers worker to talk to you or to deliver a lesson at your school. Some schools run lunchtime groups or homework support groups for young carers.

If you are having trouble with school or homework, your teachers may offer:

  • extra time for school work when the person you care for is ill
  • help for your parents to travel to parents’ evenings if they have trouble leaving the house
  • to talk to you privately about your home life
  • homework club

Local advice and support for young carers

For further information on local support available to young carers, please telephone Cross Roads Young Carers Scheme on 028 91814363 or Barnardos Young Carers Scheme on 028 7963 1344.

Cancer Fund for Children

The Cancer fund for children young shoulders programme supports children and young people whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer.  For further information contact 028 9080 5599 or email

For more advice and information for young carers, please see the Looking after someone leaflet.