The Project

Young carers are children or young people who look after family members who are ill or have disabilities. They take over similar caregiving responsibilities to those of adult family carers and need special support. The purpose of this project is to summarize the body of knowledge about young carers’ lives with a special focus on their personal experiences, the impact of caring, needs and coping behaviors and offer specific social entrepreneurship education and offer social entrepreneurship activities among such a vulnerable group.

Young carers are often hidden, forgotten or ignored by policymakers and service providers at national and local levels. They do not feature in the literature on community care, family care, and children’s rights; and young carers’ experiences and needs are not explicitly recognized in social and family policies. The long-term implications of caregiving responsibilities on young carers’ health or psycho-social development need to be further documented. Several studies according to the European umbrella association Eurocarers reported that many young people in families with chronically ill members are highly involved in caring. Due to this responsibility, they spend most of their time at home. Although the caregiving experiences are pervasive, young people conceal the conditions of their relatives from others. They also do not want to be identified as young carers. Thus, their social experiences are limited. These children or adolescents would like to live a “normal life”. They prioritize their family member’s needs over their own.

Those young people need professional support, which recognizes the real needs of their family members. A social entrepreneur is a person who pursues novel applications that have the potential to solve community-based problems. These individuals are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives. A social entrepreneur is interested in starting a business for greater social good and not just the pursuit of profits. It is not rare that people who have a family history of illness in their family become aware of community-based problems. Several reviews show that since 2007 the situation of affected children and adolescents has achieved an important place in international research. Based on the included studies, it is possible to identify theoretical models that help to describe and explain the phenomenon of young carers.

In order to provide appropriate support and interventions, it is of importance for the professionals to know and consider that a family-oriented perspective is vital. We will focus on offering social entrepreneurial skills and inform them about EU funded opportunities and training for young people who wish to develop their social entrepreneurship.