Sibling Carers: the hidden family and friends carers

An analysis of the 2001 UK census recently showed that, at that time, there were over 65,000 children being brought up by older brothers and sisters, and the number has probably gone up since then. This is far more than anyone had previously suspected. It is little known that some famous people have either been sibling carers themselves (Mary Portas, Shania Twain, Dolly Parton) or been raised by older siblings (Alan Johnson MP, Malcolm X).

We published our own groundbreaking study of sibling carers Big Bruv, Little Sis in March 2011. We found that sibling carers often struggled to get acceptance and support from Children’s Services. They were not taken seriously because they were young. They sometimes had to live in overcrowded housing for years before they were moved to larger accommodation. They had to juggle work or college with their sibling carer responsibilities, and sometimes had to put off going to university. But they were highly motivated by wanting to keep their little brothers and sisters out of the care system.

This section of the website tells you about the help and advice we give to sibling carers.

If you are already bringing up a younger brother or sister, or are thinking about doing this, you will find the Information section useful. In this section you can find out about:

  • what the law says about your rights and responsibilities
  • what legal orders you could apply for
  • where to go for help and support
  • helping children stay in touch with their parents

You can sign up to our internet discussion board, where there is a section just for sibling carers.

If you are interested in going to a Support Group, you can find out if there are any in your area.