Adolescent young carers in Europe

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


Adolescent young carers (AYCs) are young people (15–17 years old) providing care, assistance or support to other family members. 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 for opportunities and limitations of current policy and law for AYCs. Knowledge, that existing initiatives provide, is transferred to other European countries and professionals to a limited extent.


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
  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

Under the lead of Agnes Leu Careum Research will especially be responsible for work package 2 “Development and implementation of policies, legislation and services”. It aims to explore what provisions and policy frameworks do exist and how they are enacted in the “real” world.

Project team

Prof. Dr. iur. Agnes Leu, Careum Research (Lead)

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         


Horizon 2020


2018–2018 (39 months)


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