Young Carers and the theological call of the Other
THE TERM ‘Young Carer’ refers to a child or young person under 24 whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance, or support to a sick or disabled relative at home, including those with mental health conditions and/or addiction.
They are a ‘hidden’ group of young people. Carers of all ages often do not recognise that what they are doing out of love and duty for someone close to them - the most natural thing in the world for them to do - can be regarded as filling a caring role. Young carers are even less likely to be identified as filling such a role due to their age and a lack of awareness amongst people and organisations that young people are carrying out these tasks. In cases where they are helping a parent with mental ill health or addiction, they are even less likely to be identified. Even if a young person has identified themself or has been identified as a carer, their disclosing their situation to those around them, for example in education, is not guaranteed.
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Is Research Associate at the Centre for Neurodevelopment and Intellectual Disabilities, Ulster University. Her 2020 doctorate from U.U. explored the educational Impact of being a Young Carer.
Is Rector of Skerry, diocese of Connor, and Adjunct Lecturer in Theology at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. He holds a PhD in systematic theology from Queens University Belfast.