University of Sussex

Giving a voice to young carers

Professor Saul Becker, a world-leading expert on young carers, is giving a voice to children who are providing care to ill, disabled or elderly family members. His research was the first to establish that these children face significant mental health problems.  

For almost 30 years, Professor Becker has conducted research into the lives of young carers, attracting funding for 50 projects and writing 18 books on the topic. He has advised governments, policy makers and practitioners in the UK and internationally on the issues facing young carers and his work has informed the development of policy and law in several countries. 

Through his research, young carers have had the opportunity to have their needs heard and acted upon. He and his team believe that if we spend more time listening to young carers, we will find more effective ways of helping them to feel less isolated and alone. 

A carer himself as a child and an adult, and a former social worker, Professor Becker draws on his personal and professional experiences to inform his research. His drive and focus on placing young carers themselves at the centre of debates and policy decisions has given hope to thousands of young people. 

His current project is Europe’s biggest-ever study into young carers, across seven countries, including some, such as Slovenia, who have no knowledge of their young carers. By interviewing hundreds of young carers and analysing policy frameworks and good practices, the team will develop an innovative framework of mental health interventions to be adapted and tested in six countries.