Young carers are the children or the siblings of anyone who needs special care and support to enable them to live outwith institutional care.
Young carers, especially if they are given information at their own level of understanding, can make a significant contribution to ongoing care efforts for their vulnerable sibling or parent.
The early years of these young carers will be greatly affected by the needs of other family members.
With most – or all – time, energy and attention on supporting the most vulnerable family member, frequently there is little left to address the needs of the young carer.
Like all children, they only have the opportunity of going through childhood once – no replays.
For interview quotes from young carers whose siblings have special needs, see ‘Families, Carers and Professionals: Building Constructive Conversations’ published 2007, John Wiley and Sons.