GLASGOW'S young carers, who have health, educational and emotional needs, receive only "patchy" support, according to a consultation paper on which young people themselves will be asked to comment.
There are an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 carers under the age of 16 in the greater Glasgow area. The problems they face are often hidden because of a fear of family break-up and of children being taken from home. A large proportion have educational problems and miss school. Many fail to obtain any qualifications.
The children re often quite young, for example a five-year-old who gets his own breakfast before going to school because his parent is caring for a disabled sibling. Another who is "carrying out tasks beyond what might be considered normal" regularly checks that a sibling is safe and well in another room because the parent is incapacitated.
The report states: "It may be more acceptable for a 14-year-old to do certain things than a 10-year-old. Therefore families with younger carers are less likely to seek help and support."