Vila Nova de Gaia takes care of young carers

A project that identifies youth involved in domestic care and helps them out

  • August 13, 2020 18:30
  • Author Tzvetozar Vincent Iolov
Medium young caregiver

‘Young Caregivers’ (Jovens Cuidadores) – this is the name of a project which seeks to identify youth who are involved in providing assistance to family members in need. Yesterday, the municipal website of Vila Nova de Gaia announced that it had been approved for financing that will amount to some 230 000 euros.

Young carers are a group that may have specific needs

The project, headed by Portincarers – the Caregivers Association of Portugal, is designed to give visibility and voice to young caregivers who find themselves in difficult situations in their lives, and also to advocate for policies on national and European levels that support this youth group in the areas of education, health and inclusivity.

Who is defined as a young caregiver? These are children and adolescents under the age of 18 who attend to family members and provide assistance and support at home. In other words, tasks and responsibilities which are normally reserved for adults.

That means often the circumstances that these youths live under are often more stressful and disadvantageous when compared to those of their peers. As a result, young carers are more vulnerable to mental health issues, poverty or social exclusion.

Although the daily activities of these young people are often essential to the continuing well-being of their families and the households they inhabit, these are not formally considered as employment. The reality is that young caregivers are twice as likely to become part of the NEET category (Not in Education, Employment or Training) whose prevalence is especially high in Southern and Eastern European countries.

That is why the funds for the approved initiative, almost of half of which will be provided by the Gaia Municipality will be directed towards developing programs together with educational institutions, teachers and counsellors to help these individuals. The idea is to afford them with better opportunities to study, practice sports and enjoy leisure but also to give them the chance to develop employability skills.

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