A carer is someone who provides unpaid help and support to a relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without that help due to frailty, long term illness, disability or addiction. A young carer is an individual under the age of 18 whose life is in some way restricted because of the need to take responsibility for the care of someone who is ill, has a disability, experiencing mental distress or is affected by substance misuse . Young carers are a vulnerable group as they are more likely to miss school, have lower educational attainment, struggle financially, and not be in education, training or employment (NEET) between the ages of 16 and 19 .

As at the last Census (2011), in Wakefield 2,586 children and young people (aged under 25 years) were recorded as being a carer, this is 2.8% of the population aged 0-24 years. The proportion of carers in Wakefield is higher than the average for England (2.5%) and the region (2.5%), but is not significantly higher. Data shows that the proportion of young carers in Wakefield has not changed much since 2001, when 2.7% of children and young people were recorded as carers.

Local data from the 2015 Children’s Survey indicates that 15% of Year 5 pupils and 9% of Year 9 pupils care for someone in their home that has a serious illness or disability; 2% of primary pupils said that this caring role takes up more than two hours of their day. Pupils who reported that they were a carer were also more likely to report that they had tried smoking that they have been offered drugs, that they have tried drugs and that they have been bullied.

Further information on young carers can be found on the JSNA website, in the Children and Young People’s Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire results