Young carers can be defined as children, teenagers and young adults who provide assistance or support to another family member, often a parent but also a sibling, grandparent or another relative who is disabled, has a chronic illness, mental health or addiction illness or other condition connected with a need for care, support or supervision. These young people carry out, often on a regular basis, significant or substantial caring tasks and assume a level of responsibility which would not usually be associated with their age group. Research has provided clear evidence that heavy caring responsibilities can result in lower educational outcomes and reduced future employment opportunities; emotional difficulties; health problems; social exclusion; and limited opportunities for social and leisure activities. Professional support services are lacking in many EU countries and this is largely due to the fact that youth work, education and social services sectors are insufficiently aware of this group.
The European project “EPYC – Empowering Professionals to support Young Carers” aims to support professionals in the difficult task of identifying young carers, assessing their situation and to developing effective action plans. The project involves a strategic partnership of 6 European organisations, namely Diakonisches Werk Berlin Stadtmitte e.V. (DE), Care Alliance Ireland (IE), Anziani e non solo (IT), Carers Trust (UK), Austrian Red Cross (AT) and IPS Versari Macrelli (IT).
The EPYC project will target professionals dealing with young carers directly or indirectly in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland and will develop a set of tools and interventions to support young carers. These tools will include awareness raising materials as well as questionnaires, motivational interviews, checklists and services navigators to allow correct identification of young carers, measure the level and impact of their care burden, and develop action plans to address issues adversely affecting them.
Each partner country will trial these tools through pilot interventions that will be developed to directly support young carers. Depending on the local context and needs, supported peer groups will be built in cooperation with schools (Germany, Austria and Ireland); examples of existing good practices of young carers services working with schools will be showcased to inform more schools and educational institution (Scotland); tools will be tested in a second level school and a community youth service to allow the their fitness and effectiveness for similar age group in different educational context (Italy). These pilot projects will form the basis for the development of practical guidelines to support young carers.
In the course of the project, interim expected results include increased capacity of organisations to identify young carers; increased knowledge of promising or successful experiences and practices from other European countries and increased awareness of the challenges faced by young carers in the different local contexts involved directly or indirectly in project activities.
The eventual desired outcome is improved professional expertise in this field by having the knowledge to develop support services for young carers while cooperating with relevant sectors in education, social services and caregiver support.
Download the leaflet – (UK, Ireland)
Download the leaflet – (Germany)
Download the leaflet – (Italy)
Download the leaflet – (Austria)