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Key messages – young carers’ and young adult carers’ breaks

  • Young carers and young adult carers undertake a range of caring activities for a family member, usually a parent or sibling.
  • Young carers and young adult carers are at risk of poorer education outcomes, poor mental and physical health, stress and financial difficulties. Negative effects continue into adulthood.
  • A whole-family approach involves understanding and addressing the needs of the family as a whole, with an aim of reducing inappropriate or excessive caring that negatively impacts upon a child or young person’s development and wellbeing in the long term. Breaks and support are one aspect of this.
  • Breaks and support are essential – they make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of young carers and young adult carers. Making friends in a similar situation, building confidence and learning about themselves outside of the caring role are all positive outcomes of breaks.
  • Services, including local authority, NHS, schools and colleges need to work together to identify young carers, young adult carers and those at risk of becoming carers.
  • Young carers, young adult carers and their family are central to planning and shaping the provision of breaks and support. Co-production ensures their voices are heard.
  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. There are many good examples of varied and innovative breaks and support available. Young carers, young adult carers and their families want choice in the breaks and support they receive.
  • Diverse backgrounds and needs must be considered in both identification of young carers and the provision of support. Groups at risk of being overlooked are black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), travelling communities, LGBTQ+ and young carers under eight years old.
  • Some major barriers to young carers and young adult carers participating in breaks are a lack of formal, consistent support, including replacement care for the person they support, anxiety over leaving the person they support and a lack of transport to activities.