print logo

Identifying and Recognising the Needs of Young Carers – New Questionnaire and Screening Tool

The Young Carers Research Group has launched a new questionnaire and screening tool to help researchers and health, social care and education professionals estimate the prevalence of young carers in a given area and to identify their needs.

The YC-QST-20 is intended to be used as a research and screening tool among children who may be living with, and/or caring for, a relative in the home (such as a parent, grandparent or sibling) who might have chronic illness, mental health problems or a disability. The YC-QST-20 is also intended to gauge children’s level of understanding about their relative’s illness or disability, the nature and extent of children’s caring responsibilities and their needs as carers.

The UK leads the way in respect of research, policy and practice on young carers and their families and other countries look to the UK to provide both an evidence base and guidance on how to identify and include young carers in health and social care policy and practice.

The questionnaire and screening tool has been designed in response to requests from researchers, health, social care and education professionals as well as policy makers in countries and regions where young carers are not identified in policy or practice and where the needs of young carers and their families are not recognized.

In using the new questionnaire and screening tool, researchers and professionals alike will be able to identify and screen for young caring in those countries or regions where currently young carers are not recognized or supported.

The YC-QST-20 is intended to provide researchers and professionals with a tried and tested means of identifying young carers and their needs from general populations of children and young people. The YC-QST-20 can be used in the following ways:

  • As the basis for generating statistical data on the prevalence of young caring in a given location (local authority area, borough, county, state etc).
  • Adapted and used by health, social care or education professionals to identify young carers and their support needs.
  • Adapted by researchers and professionals to obtain data and information about children’s understanding of specific illnesses or disabilities and the role children play in helping to provide care for relatives who are affected by specific illnesses or disabilities. For example, the questionnaire can be adapted to focus on adult mental health problems or parental mental illness rather than more broadly on illness/disability.
  • As a self-administered questionnaire to be used in schools in order to identify and recognise children’s roles and needs as carers and for appropriate referrals to be made to health and social care services where these are requested (that is, by children themselves).

YC-QST-20 Questionnaire and Screening Tool (pdf format) click here.

YC-QST-20 Explanatory Model (Word doc.) click here.

For further information contact: Professor Jo Aldridge, Director, Young Carers Research Group, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE113TU. Tel: +44 (0)1509 223670/223365. Fax: +44 (0)1509 223944. Email: J.Aldridge(at)

Visit the Young Carers Research Group Website:


More resources from Young Carers Research Group

Children Living with and Caring for Parents with Mental Illness
Resources for researchers and health and social care professionals:
The Scottish Government:
See also: Scottish Child Care and Protection Network:
Children of Parents with Mental Illness (COPMI), Australia: see also:

National Evidence and Practice Reviews, Community Care Inform – Young Carers and their Families
Community Care Inform: ‘helps professionals working with children and young people make, and evidence, decisions and assessments. It contains a wealth of expert-written, practice-related information including case law summaries, guidance to key pieces of legislation and in-depth practice guides.’ Aldridge, J. (2012) Young Carers Reference Manual (Practice Guide) and Aldridge, J. (2012) Young Carers Research Review for Professionals.

Young Carers in Health Care Consultations
Listening to Children and Young People in Healthcare Consultations, 2010, Redsell, S.R. and Hastings, A. (Eds), Radcliffe Medical Press. ISBN: 9781846193460. See Chapter 6: Listening to Young Carers and their Families, pp 87-100.

Assessing Young Carers: Children In Need
The Child’s World: The Comprehensive Guide to Assessing Children in Need, 2nd Edition, 2010, Horwath, J. (Ed), Jessica Kingsley, London. ‘This new and updated edition of the best-selling book on assessing children in need and their families integrates practice, policy and theory to produce a comprehensive and multidisciplinary guide to all aspects of assessment.
The Child's World not only provides an explanation of the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, but also offers a wealth of information on how to use it sensitively and effectively. The Child's World explores the implications of recent legislation, including the Children Act 2004, and national guidance for assessment practice. The contributors have drawn on the latest research, best practice and lessons learnt over the past decade of Framework implementation to equip practitioners, from different disciplines, to identify the developmental needs of children, assess parental capacity and evaluate the impact of family, economic and environmental factors on the carer's ability to meet the needs of the child.
‘This book is essential reading for all practitioners, managers, trainers and educators in children's and adult services who use the Framework, and will also be a valued source of knowledge and guidance for those assessing children’s needs in legislative contexts outside of England.’
See: Part II, Chapter 13: Young Carers: Needs, Rights and Assessments, pp 244-228.
See also:

Young Carers: Children ‘Under the Radar’

Evidence from House of Commons, Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, Session 6 February 2008, Children Under the Radar.

Carersl Trust Briefing on Young Carers and Education.
To download click here.

Young Carers and HIV and AIDS
Ruth Evans (Department of Geographical and Environmental Science, University of Reading) has published a collection of useful and insightful articles and a book on children caring for parents with HIV and AIDS in Africa and in African migrant families in the UK.

References for the latest publications are:
R. Evans (2010) Children’s caring roles and responsibilities within the family in Africa, Geography Compass, 4/10, pp 1477-1496.

R. Evans (2010) “We are managing our own lives…”: Life transitions and care in sibling-headed households affected by AIDS in Tanzania and Uganda, Area,  published online by Wiley ( DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2010.00954.x.

R. Evans (2009) Young caregiving and HIV in the UK: Caring relationships and mobilities in African migrant families, Population, Space and Place, published online by Wiley InterScience ( DOI: 10.10002/psp.583

Evans, R. and Becker, S. (2009) Children Caring for Parents and Relatives with HIV and AIDS: Global Issues and Policy Responses, The Policy Press: Bristol.

R. Evans and F. Thomas (2009) Emotional interactions and an ethics of care: Caring relations in families affected by HIV and AIDS, Emotion, Space and Society, pp 1-9.

For further information about Ruth’s work please contact:
Dr. Ruth Evans
Department of Geography and Environmental Science
University of Reading, Whiteknights PO Box 227, Reading RG6 6AB, UK.
Email: r.evans(at)

Click here for more information and news about Young Carers Research group


Tags: ["research", "young carers", "child monitoring", "children's roles", "family life", "education", "public policies", "children's rights"]
Published Jan. 15, 2013 9:54 AM - Last modified Apr. 17, 2013 3:34 PM