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."