What Age is too Young to be a Young Carer?

On Monday 11 November 2017, the Evening Standard announced that they are going to start an investigation called The Lost Childhoods. The aim of this new investigation is to bring to light all of the children in London who are vulnerable to “poverty, homelessness, disability, mental health and abuse” (Cohen). In his first article, writer David Cohen interviews Beau Broomfield, an eight year old boy who is serving as his sick mother’s full time carer. Beau describes himself as a very worried child and knows that most kids his age do not have the struggles that he deals with on a daily basis. Ever since he came home to his mum collapsed on the floor, he has taken it upon himself to handle all of her medical needs and house work. He reminds her when to take her pills, helps her move about the house, prepares meals, does laundry, and goes to school. In his mind he knows that he should be out playing with the rest of his 8 year old friends, but his response was “I am worried to leave mum so I stay here” (Broomfield). Unfortunately, Beau’s case is not unique to London’s young people. According to the Children’s Commissioner of England “there are 171,024 young unpaid carers under 18 (in London alone). Some are just under five years old” (Cohen). The reason that the numbers are so high is because many families cannot afford to hire a professional carer, so they rely on their children to take care of them. Beau’s mother, Rose Coffen, for example, has been classified as an ‘in need’ patient, but...