Advice for Professionals

Potential indicators

Some young carers are reluctant or embarrassed to ask for help or do not know that support is available.  Anyone who works with young people should therefore be informed and professionally curious, alert to possible indicators that a child or young person is taking on caring responsibilities.  The following indicators can help you to identify whether a child or young person may be a young carer:

  • Often late, or absent from school or college/further education with little explanation
  • Falling behind on school/college work, handing in homework late or incomplete
  • Stopping participating in youth groups, clubs or sporting activities without explanation
  • Often tired, anxious, withdrawn or worried.
  • Isolated from peers, struggles to attend extra-curricular activities and trips.
  • Secretive about home life
  • Showing signs of poor hygiene or diet
  • Displaying disruptive behaviour.
  • Refers to their parents/guardians/sibling as frequently being unwell
  • Talks openly about family health issues often with more knowledge than might be expected of peers e.g. around medication.
  • Becomes uncomfortable when addressing various health topics.

Young carers may also be identified through the circumstances and behaviours of their family members

  • Parents/siblings experiencing illness, disability, mental ill health or have a history of substance misuse
  • Parents often missing appointments with school/other professionals
  • Parents who are difficult to communicate with eg frequently do not respond to requests