Ontario’s Young Carers
Who are Ontario’s Young Carers?
A young carer is a child, youth or young adult that provides physical, medical, emotional or other supports to a parent, grandparent or sibling. While most young carers are between the ages of 8 and 24 years old, we know kids as young as 5 years old are in a caregiving role. Ontario has an estimated 3.3 million family caregivers -- 17% are young carers between the ages of 15 and 24. There are many more left out of the statistics, as there is no data for young caregivers under the age of 15.
Young carers often grow up quickly, and lose their childhoods too early. They can experience feelings of anger, isolation, loneliness and grief—some suffer from depression or anxiety. Their school and work can suffer because of their added responsibility and they often have limited time to socialize or do extracurricular activities. On the flip side, many young carers are wise beyond their years. Their added responsibilities help build self-esteem, compassion, resiliency and independence, and they learn many important life lessons.
Although awareness of family caregivers is gaining momentum in Ontario and beyond, young carers are often an invisible population of caregivers.
Below are our resources designed to shine a light on Ontario's young carers.
Ontario’s first Young Carers Forum
In November 2017, The Change Foundation hosted Ontario’s first Young Carers Forum – bringing together 20 young carers and over 60 professionals, policy makers and researchers to talk about priority actions needed to support young carers in the important role they play in health care, in society and at home.