New Research to Look at Young Carers in Ireland

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A nation-wide research study into young carers in Ireland has begun at NUI Galway's Child and Family Research Centre. The research will look at the impact that providing care to a family member has upon a young person's life and will explore ways of better supporting these young carers. The study has been commissioned by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. NUI Galway researchers involved in the study are trying to identify children and young people, aged 5-17, who provide care to a family member in the home, perhaps due to disability or illness. The research team has already begun to interview young carers about their experiences and hope to identify more who would be willing to take part in the study. All information will be treated confidentially according to strict ethical guidelines and interviews should take no more than an hour to complete at a venue to suit the young person. According to Dr Allyn Fives, a member of the research team at NUI Galway: "We don't have accurate data on just how many young people care for a member of their family. While the most recent census tells us that approximately 3,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 17 are carers, it does not give a figure for the many young people below that age group. Also, very little is known about their day to day experiences, or the kinds of help and assistance that would benefit them. This is partly because not many studies have focused on the experiences of young carers in Ireland, and also because there is a wide variety of caring situations and experiences". Dr Fives added: "Young carers are asked to do different kinds of tasks and they have different levels of responsibility. Their caring has different impacts on other parts of their lives, including school work, sports and other recreational activities, and their friendships and family life. These young people contribute so much to their families that we hope this research will show us how they themselves can be supported in their vital role". Those interested in getting in touch with researchers at the NUI Galway Child and Family Research Centre can call Dr Fives on 091 495732 or email allyn.fives@nuigalway.ie
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