Adolescent young carers in Europe

An international research project aims to examine the situation of adolescent young carers in seven different European countries. Through the evaluation and development of social interventions, the mental health and well-being of those concerned shall be improved.

Basis

Adolescent young carers (AYCs) are young people (15–17 years old) providing care, assistance or support to other family members or friends. Taking on a caring role can lead to the occurrence of both immediate and long-term problems in AYCs’ mental health, well-being and development, as well as for their transitions to adulthood, social inclusion, education and employability. The phenomenon is highly relevant across Europe, albeit specific data, awareness and supports are not frequently available. Additionally there is a lack of understanding of the opportunities and the limitations of current policy and law for AYCs. The awareness of existing initiatives is currently being transferred across other European countries to only a limited extent. (Want to know more? How you to get involved)

Project

The goal of the Horizon 2020 Project “Psychosocial Support for Promoting Mental Health and Well-being among Adolescent Young Carers in Europe (ME-WE)” is to strengthen the resilience of AYCs, to improve their mental health and well-being, and mitigate the negative influences of psychosocial and environmental factors.

It has three specific objectives:

  1. to systematise knowledge on AYCs (young carers aged 15–17)
  2. to co-design, test and deliver psychosocial interventions, including an information and communication technology (ICT) intervention in six countries (Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom)
  3. to evaluate what works and provide knowledge translation actions at national, European and international levels

The work plan is developed into eight work packages (WPs):

  • WP1 Profiles, needs and preferences of AYCs: The main goal is to conduct a cross-national comparison of the profiles, needs and preferences of AYCs using an online survey.
    January 2018–December 2018 (complete)
  • WP 2: National policy, legal and service frameworks: Under the lead of Agnes Leu, the Careum Research team was the lead partner for Work Package 2. This aimed to understand the contextual framework for AYCs in six countries (Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom) by analysing the development and implementation of policies, legislation and services addressing AYCs in those countries and exploring how such policies are enacted in the ‘real’ world and how procedures work in practice.
    January 2018–December 2018 (complete)
    A report based on these research findings was developed describing how different countries have responded to the issue of young carers. It includes references to specific pieces of legislation, guidance and service frameworks and an analysis of how these developed and are currently being enacted.
    This internal report is helping to inform further work packages (WP4, WP5) in the project.
  • WP3 Good practice, social innovations & evidence: The aim is to provide a systematic overview of successful strategies to improve the mental health and well-being of AYCs.
    January 2018 - December 2018 (complete)
  • WP4 Participatory co-design: Blended Learning Networks (i.e. “communities of practice” involving AYCs and relevant stakeholders) are held to establish a continuous involvement of AYCs and stakeholders in the co-design and the development of country interventions.
    (January 2018 – March 2021)
  • WP5 Implementation: This WP implements the interventions designed in WP4. Development of interventions (ongoing) and implementation.
    (Until September 2020)
  • WP6 Evaluation and impact: This WP coordinates all intervention evaluation activities.
    (To be completed by March 2021)
  • WP7 Knowledge exchange, dissemination and communication: The goal is to raise awareness about the situation and needs of young carers and the impacts of the ME-WE project among stakeholders and to coordinate and carry out a number of targeted dissemination and outreach activities at a European and national level.
    (On-going until March 2021)
  • WP8 Project management: WP8 coordinates scientific, technical and financial activities throughout the project duration.
    (On-going until March 2021)


Involvement of AYCs:

Hearing the views and opinions of AYCs is vital to the project. AYCs are being continuously involved in the project via national Blended Learning Networks (i.e. “communities of practice” involving AYCs and relevant stakeholders), user groups, workshops, and through an International Advisory and Ethics Board.
Results and findings from the ME-WE project will be added to this page.

 

Learn more here (flyer). Get in touch: youngcarers@careum.ch

 

A short 3 minute video developed by Careum School of Health about young carers, adolescent young carers and the ME-WE project:
 

Short version of the video

Project team

Prof. Dr. iur. Agnes Leu, Programme Director, Careum School of Health (Lead WP2)
Daniel Phelps, Senior Researcher
Alexandra Wirth, Project Coordinator
Elena Guggiari, Junior Researcher
Fabian Berger, Junior Researcher (until December 2018)

Research partners

Elizabeth Hanson, Linnaeus University (SE): Department of Health and Caring Sciences
Stecy Yghemonos, Eurocarers (BE)
Saul Becker, University of Sussex
Anna Morris, Carers Trust (UK)
Alice de Boer, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport - Netherlands Institute for Social Research (NE)
Frans van Zoest, Foundation Vilans (NE)
Sara Santini, National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing (IT)
Licia Boccaletti, Not Only Older People Social Cooperative (IT)
Valentina Hlebec, University of Ljubljana (SI): Faculty of Social Sciences

Cooperation partners

Berufsbildungszentrum Olten (BBZ)
Haute Ecole Arc Santé

   

Careum School of Health Ltd. would like to thank all the professionals and AYCs who have supported this project. We would also like to acknowledge our partner implementation organisations on the project.

Funding

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 754702.

Duration

2018–2021 (39 months)

Literature

Leu, A., & Becker, S. (2016). A cross-national and comparative classification of in-country awareness and policy responses to 'young carers'. Journal of Youth Studies, 1–13. PDF

Link

me-we-project website