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Young Carers Research Group - Loughborough University

YCRG - News

Professor Jo Aldridge - Finalist in this years Enterprise Awards

Transforming the lives of young carers and their families - Shaping national and international health and social care policy and practice to support young carers and their families

Professor Jo Aldridge’s research has transformed the lives of young carers and their families by informing and helping to change UK policy and practice.

Her pioneering work in this area dates back to the early 1990s, and she was co-founder of Loughborough’s Young Carers Research Group (1993).

In 2014, the Department for Education commissioned Professor Aldridge to conduct the first ever national study of young carers, aged 5-17, to ascertain their prevalence in England and investigate the effects that caring has on them.

This work has led to a greater awareness of the needs and resilience of young carers, and contributed to legislation that now supports and protects them – the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

A screening tool also developed by Professor Aldridge is now used by organisations worldwide to identify and work more effectively with young carers.

In April 2015, Professor Aldridge was appointed as a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Fellow. She continues to apply her expertise to drive positive change for young carers and their families.

Click here to vote.


National Omnibus Survey of Young Carers and their Families Published

The Department for Education (DfE) research report, ‘The lives of young carers in England. Omnibus survey research’ conducted by Professor Jo Aldridge in partnership with Kantar Public is published today (13 January, 2017). 
This research presents the quantitative findings of a survey of young carers and their parents, and the effect that caring has in their lives; it forms part of a broader suite of  research commissioned by the DfE in 2014, which aimed to serve as a baseline study of the lives of young carers in England.  The survey aimed to add to the evidence already gathered from an earlier qualitative study (published in February 2016 and conducted by Professor Jo Aldridge in partnership with Kantar Public) by quantitatively assessing:
*  The nature of the care and support that young carers are provided;
*  their perceived impact of their caring responsibilities on their own physical and mental health, education and development; and
*  the types of support they are receiving, whether formal or informal. 

The research report and its appendices are live at:

New report by Children's Commission looks at support provided to young carers and their families in England:

for more information plase use this link.

First National Study of Young Carers in Belgium

Research is underway to estimate the numbers of young carers in Belgium using the YC-QST-20 questionnaire and screening tool devised by the Young Carers Research Group (YCRG). Researchers in the Jeunes Aidants Proches (Young Carers) project are undertaking a national research program to raise political and public awareness and to alert healthcare and education professionals to the experiences and needs of young carers. Professor Jo Aldridge, director of the YCRG, is an advisor to Jeunes Aidants Proches.

The project aims to identify the number of young carers in Belgium and so far researchers have carried out a pretest in five different classes of 12-year-old students. Of the 99 students tested via the YC-QST- 20, 31 have said they are taking on caring roles at home. In June 2016, a further research project was set up to highlight “the needs of those who support Young Caregivers,” both through formal networks (healthcare and education professionals) and informal networks (peer caregivers, youth groups, sports clubs etc.). The starting point for this research project is a primary school located in Brussels. Data for this project will also be gathered using the YC-QST-20.

The YC-QST-20 questionnaire and screening tool – which was designed to help researchers and health, social care and education professionals identify young carers – is also currently being translated into French for use in a new research project on young carers and their families in France.

For further information about the Belgium project contact:

Julie Dupont
Project Manager
Jeunes Aidants Proches asbl

To find out more about the YC-QST-20 and Explanatory Model please use this link.

New Research on the Lives of Young Carers in England Published

The first phase of the first ever national study of young carers in England has been published by the Department of Education. Professor Jo Aldridge of the Young Carers Research Group was the academic lead for the study, which was conducted in partnership with TNS-BMRB. The findings from the qualitative phase of the research focus on the experiences and needs of young carers aged 5-17 in England. Two reports – the main report and summary – present findings relating to: young carers’ access to support and services; the nature of care young carers provide; and the effect of caring responsibilities on children’s health, school life and social life.
The Lives of Young Carers in England full report and summary is available from:

Findings from the second quantitative phase of the study will be published in March and will provide evidence on the numbers of young carers in England.

New Research on Stroke and Young Carers - to download the document click here.

Parental Mental Health and Child Welfare Conference: 2 December 2015 - book your place
Programme and booking information:

and to download the flyer please use this link.

New national study to uncover the numbers of young carers in England
The YCRG, led by Professor Jo Aldridge, is undertaking the first ever study to uncover the numbers of young carers in England. The study, which is funded by the Department for Education and conducted in partnership with TNS-BMRB, will also examine the impacts of caring on children and young people from age 5-17 years. Using both quantitative, survey-based methods, as well as in-depth qualitative approaches, the study will produce both prevalence and effects data to give a complete picture of young caring in England. For more details about this study, please contact Jo Aldridge:


New book on working with young carers and other vulnerable groups Professor
Jo Aldridge’s new book: Participatory Research: Working with Vulnerable Groups in Research and Practice, published by The Policy Press, includes in-depth case studies and examples of participatory research methods that have been used with young carers and their families, as well as with people with profound learning difficulties and unsupported women victims of domestic violence. The book also includes a new Participatory Research Model that provides researchers, academics and students with clear parameters for working more effectively with vulnerable or marginalised groups. The book includes extensive discussion and examination of what is meant by ‘vulnerability’ in different health, social care and academic contexts, as well as from the perspectives of people defined as ‘vulnerable’ themselves. More details about the book, including ordering information, can be found here: PRBook

Next Friday 13th June, Carers Week 2014, will focus on raising the awareness and identification of young carers and encouraging all services, schools and colleges to do some kind of activity related to young carers, perhaps a lesson, an assembly or another awareness raising activity.


  • The new young carer film is now ready and can be viewed from the Carers Week website.
  • Schools, colleges and services can request (until the 10th June) a free resources pack which includes posters and stickers from the Carers Week website.

How to get involved this week:

  • Encourage schools, colleges to use the free resources next week for a lesson or assembly or activity
  • Watch the film and share it with schools, colleges and on social media
  • Share the young carers Infographic on social media
  • Take part in the #YCpic Challenge and encourage schools and colleges to join in.
  • Promote the day using the suggested tweets (below).
  • Visit the Carers Week website  and pledge your support for young carers.

The #YCpic Challenge: for individuals, classes, schools, colleges, youth groups …everyone!

‘Be creative, have fun and raise awareness of young carers’

During Carers Week, or before Carers Week, get creative and SNAP a photo of the letters ‘YC’. Create your YC image in any way you like…it could be made from:

Beans on a plate? Chairs in a classroom? Flowers in a field! Let your imagination flow! Then share your images on social media. Tweet images using the hastags #YCpic  #carersweek  #youngcarersday . We will grab as many images as we can and upload on the Carers Week Pintrest Board.

To help spread the message even further, here are some sample Tweets!

1 in 12 students are young carers, that's > 2 in every classroom. Watch Join #youngcarersday 13th Jun

#Youngcarersday resources pack are avail. for schools/colleges – posters, activities & etc get it now #carersweek

Calling all schools and colleges to support young carers by participating in #carersweek #YCpic challenge. Info

13 June support #youngcarersday, spare 2 mins to recognise the 700,000 young carers in the UK - #carersweek

Young carers need other people to care as much as they do Support and join #youngcarersday

Young carers #infographic – Who are they and what they do? #youngcarersday #carersweek
National Conference: 11th June 2014
What Works? User and Carer Perspectives on Mental Health and Disability Services

To view the flyer click here.

NYCC Event: Celebrating stronger rights for young carers and their families -Tuesday 25th February 2013 at 5-7pm at Church House, Westminster, London

To view the flyer click here.

Child and Adolescent Health and Well-Being Symposium -Improving Outcomes for Young Carers - Professor Jo Aldridge to speak.

Thursday 27th February 2014
10:15am – 4:30pm
Central London

Public Policy Exchange holds regular interactive seminars which provide an invaluable interface for policy discussion, debate and networking.
These special events offer local practitioners, civil servants and other stakeholders not only an insight into current policy thinking, but also the opportunity to feed into future development across all areas of public policy.

To view the flyer click here.

Law to Change for Young Carers - Click here for press release.

Research on Young Adult Carers

Carers Trust and The University of Nottingham are working together on a new piece of research to find out more about the experiences of young adult carers aged 14-25, specifically looking at education, training and employment. The online survey will be open until the end of July 2013 and can be accessed through a new dedicated website:

Findings will be published in late 2013 and early 2014 and will be available to everyone.

Fourth International Conference on Families with Parental Mental Health Challenges - Addressing the Needs of the Whole Family.

Date: April 25 - 27, 2014
Venue: Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley, California, USA

Download the flyer for more information.

The Family Model:
Managing the impact of parental mental health on children

Date: Friday 13th September 2013
Venue: Lion Court Conference Centre, London

Download the flyer for more information.

Identifying and Recognising the Needs of Young Carers – Launch of Questionnaire and Screening Tool
Researchers at the YCRG have produced a questionnaire and screening tool intended to help researchers and health, social care and education professionals estimate the prevalence of young caring in countries (states or regions) where the needs of young carers have not been identified.
For further information Click here.

Young Carers Included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (art. 24)
Click here.

UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre and the Child Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Group (CP-MERG) Technical Working Group on Violence Against Children

Professor Aldridge has contributed expertise to CP-MERG and to the document: Ethical Principles, Dilemmas and Risks in Collecting Data on Violence Against Children: A Review of Available Literature.
Click here.

Professor Aldridge is also a member of the International Expert Advisory Panel for the UNICEF International Child Research Ethics Project and has contributed a case study on young carers for the forthcoming International Research Ethics Charter (which also includes a dedicated website for the Charter and case studies). Due to be published/launched Spring 2013.

National Young Carers Coalition and Carers Trust
The YCRG is working with the NYCC as part of the consultation process for the draft Care and Support Bill.

Members of the YCRG will also be involved in the Thematic Workshop on Young Carers and Legislative Change hosted jointly by the Standing Commission on Carers and Carers Trust and to be held in February 2013.

The workshop will be held with input from colleagues from Department for Education and Department of Health and will afford the opportunity to build on discussions to date. It should assist officials through more specific discussion about what needs to be addressed through legislation on young carers and how this might happen. It will also be an opportunity for us to discuss what might be covered in Regulations and in Guidance.

Building the Practice. Building the Evidence (BPBE)
Carers Trust has been managing the delivery of the ‘Building the Practice. Building the Evidence’ programme, funded by the Department for Education. As well as funding and supporting the development of sustainable, local partnerships between statutory and Third Sector organisations via the Integrated Interventions partnership sites, the programme also includes the collation and dissemination of examples of practice that have been effective in supporting young carers and their families.

Members of the YCRG are currently involved in reviewing the BPBE programme.

Support for Work with Young Adult Carers
Free guide and training from NIACE

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (England and Wales) – NIACE - has produced a RUBLE (Really Useful Book of Learning and Earning) guide for young adult carers and staff who work with them.

The RUBLE guide for Young Adult Carers 2011 is designed for direct use by young adult carers aged 16-25 and is intended to be a supportive and motivating resource that helps young adult carers progress in positive ways. It includes activities around goal setting, identifying skills, space for recording positive statements, health issues, volunteering, job hunting and managing money. Monthly diary pages are also included as well as short case studies from young adult carers.

The staff guidance booklet also includes a range of materials (which can be reproduced as required) for use by a range of practitioners, professionals who work with young adult carers.

During April- July 2011, NIACE will also be offering a FREE half-day training session for practitioners interested in improving and developing their work with young adult carers.

The RUBLE guides can be downloaded free of charge from the NIACE website at:
For paper copies of the RUBLE guides and for more information about the training session please contact Emma Brown: or telephone 0116 2859694.

Young Carers’ Mental Well-Being Compromised by Long- Term Caring

New research from the YCRG and Manchester Carers Forum has found that the longer children take on caring responsibilities in the home the more damaging the affects of caring can be for children’s emotional and mental well-being.

The study, which was conducted by the Manchester Carers Forum (MCF) in conjunction the YCRG, used in depth interviews and psychological measures among 50 young carers living in Manchester.
Some young carers develop coping strategies to deal with the psychological effects of caring, but others, in particular those children who have been caring for long periods of time, for example two years or more, do not cope well. Some children in the study had been caring for 10 years.

Dr Jo Aldridge , Director of the YCRG explains: “Long term and disproportionate caring activity among children adversely affects their health and well-being. They are less optimistic about the future and have lower self esteem. We also know from recent research that there are far more young carers than was previously estimated, which means more children are likely to be adversely affected by long term caring responsibilities.”

Findings from the study highlighted that some young carers who are not providing care for prolonged periods cope better with the demands of caring; female young carers are more likely than males to be adversely affected by caring; and all carers in the 14-17 age group who had been caring for two years or more had lower self esteem and less interest in new things and developing relationships with others.

“Our findings clearly show that children should not be caring over long periods of time without help and support and that it is essential to intervene early in family life in order to prevent children taking on inappropriate or long term caring responsibilities,” said Dave Williams, MCF Project Manager. “Whilst the research indicates resilience on the part of young carers, we must ensure that disproportionate levels of caring responsibility do not hinder the life chances of our young people.”

The study was funded by the Manchester Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

For a summary of the study’s key findings please click here.

For further information about MCF please visit

"Young carers in the news - new BBC survey shows prevalence of young caring among secondary school age children is much higher than indicated in Census Data. There are now estimated to be around 700,000 young carers in the UK."

Click here for the link.

Barnardo’s Bolton service have published a resource pack on “Family Group Conferencing and Young Carers” which is available for sale at £10 via Barnardo’s in Bolton (including postage and packing).For more info click here.

CAITLIN’S WISH’ by Victoria Taylor.
Illustrations by Claire Wiles.
Caitlin’s Wish is a storybook written for children who have a disabled or sick family member, relative or friend. It is a magical fairytale with a twist. Enabling young carers to see their role from a different perspective, and enabling those not affected by disability to get an insight into what being a young carer is really like!

Victoria wrote it for her daughter, Adele-Caitlin when she found it hard to come to terms with her father’s disability. Adele-Caitlin was only 2 yrs old when her father was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Intracranial Hypertension (IH). She was so young that she just accepted the situation. It was only when she went to school that she started to compare her life with others and realised that her life was different. She felt so sad and isolated by her situation, but was too young to access any support. (There is very little support for young carers under the age of 8 yrs old.)

For more information on Caitlin's Wish click here.

And for some readers comments click here.

Hidden Voices: An
Exploratory Study of Young Carers in Cork

A recently published research study on the experiences of  current and former young carers in Ireland illustrates the impacts of caring on various aspects of their lives. The findings of this small-scale, exploratory study  point to the long term impact of caring on these young people's health and quality of life, education, employment, risk of poverty and social relationships. Young carers who aren’t known to service providers and professionals in health, social care and education are unable to live their lives as their peers do, and this research examines the impact of these factors on children’s lives.

The research report begins with a review of the international literature on definitions and perspectives on young carers, followed by a brief overview of existing Irish research and policy.  It concludes with some commentary on the issues arising from the research findings for policy and service provision.

Dr Cathal O'Connell, Dr Joe Finnerty, Ms Orla Egan,  Hidden Voices: An
Exploratory Study of Young Carers in Cork is available online in the
Combat Poverty Agency Research Working Paper series here.

Young Adult Carers in the UK: Experiences, Needs and Services for Carers aged 16-24 by Fiona Becker and Saul Becker (2008)

This is the first UK research study to provide an in-depth picture of the numbers, needs, experiences and service responses to young adult carers aged 16-24. There are almost 300,000 caregivers aged 16-24 years in the UK with a quarter of a million between aged 18-24.

The study provides new insights into the number of young adult carers in the UK, the nature of their caring responsibilities, their experiences of school, further and higher education; factors affecting their relationships; their concerns about money, jobs and carers; their aspirations; the challenges of leaving home and gaining independence.

The study, conducted by Young Carers International Research and Evaluation at the University of Nottingham, draws on original data, including in-depth interviews with carers aged 18-24 years, focus groups with carers aged 16-17, surveys of young and adult carers services and census data. It has implications for all those working within universal and specialist services that have contact with young adults particularly in schools, colleges, universities, careers services, health settings, children’s services, youth support, and services for young and adult carers.

Key findings from the study:

Analysis of the Census data 2001 shows that around 61,000 young carers in the UK are aged between 16 and 17. Nineteen per cent of them spend more than 20 hours each week caring and seven per cent spend up to 50 hours a week in this role. The study found:

  • Young carers (aged 16-17) wanted to go out more but caring and poverty precluded this.
  • Although some found an understanding attitude from their school others had been ‘punished’ as a consequence of being late or missing school due to caring
  • Parental encouragement and a positive attitude towards education influenced young carers’ school attendance and achievement.
  • Many were supplied with inadequate careers and job search advice.
  • They wanted more information and advice about further and higher education and funding opportunities.
  • They had little understanding about local support services.
  • They were anxious about who would support them once they turn 18

There are more than 229,300 young adult carers aged 18 to 24 in the UK. Nineteen per cent of them provide more than 20 hours care a week and 12 per cent provide care for more than 50 hours a week. The study found:

  • Many provide ‘emotional’ as well as intimate care – helping with bathing and washing.
  • A third reported ‘strained relationships’ with the person they supported
  • Many were unaware of their legal rights and entitlements.
  • Support from college staff was significant.
  • Choices for higher education were compromised by the need for either ‘distance caring’ (returning home at weekend or holidays) or having to attend local universities to balance care and study by continuing to live at home.
  • Some young adult carers were NEET or had compromised their plans for further study because of their caring responsibilities.
  • Most were living in families reliant on state benefits that severely restricted their opportunities.
  • Leaving home was complex.
  • Needing to care often mediated their career aspirations and future plans.

The report makes a series of recommendations and concludes that “Developing services and interventions for this group will be a sound investment for the future, promoting the positive aspects of caring and reducing the negative outcomes, with all the associated costs and benefits these have for individuals, society and the economy”.

The True Colours Trust in association with The Princess Royal Trust for Carers funded the study. The report is free to download from or available to order for £10 from

Dedicated to the One I Love...
Documentary photographers Liz Lock & Mishka Henner spent two months working with twelve carers aged 13 to 16, in Greater Manchester, gathering anecdotes, personal reflections and visual testimonies of their lives looking after loved ones in mental or physical need. To view a slide show of the photographic exhibition, called 'Dedicated to the One I Love', please click on the following link:

'Pictures of Young Carers' - PDF document now availiable to download - See downloadable publications.

This research project has been graded ‘Outstanding’ by the Economic and Social Research Council – the highest grade possible for any research project funded by the ESRC. Based on evaluations of the end of award report, the Outstanding grade reflects evaluators’ judgements that the project makes an ‘important contribution to the development of the subject and that it makes an exceptional research contribution well above average or very high in relation to the level of the award’.

Findings from the research study are presented and discussed in the downloadable document – Pictures of Young Caring.

Queen’s Anniversary Prize

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize (2004) for Higher and Further Education has been awarded to Loughborough (Department of Social Sciences) in recognition of its outstanding and widely respected work in evaluating and helping develop social policy-related programmes, including young carers. The prizes are awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding educational achievement in areas of service and benefit to the nation. Our thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years. Without your contribution and cooperation in research studies, evaluations etc and without the participation of the children, young people and their families with whom you work, the research would not have been possible.

To read the article click here. pdflogo 303 KB, Needs Adobe Acrobat Reader - which you can download free from here