To the Editor.

In the first national study focusing on children and adolescents who care for relatives in their homes, 1.3 to 1.4 million young people, ages 8 to 18, have been identified in this country as “youth caregivers.” These children and adolescents provide significant assistance to relatives or household members who need help because of physical or mental illness, disability, frailty associated with aging, substance misuse, or other conditions. Their responsibilities include personal care, medical care, household management, supervision, language translation in medical settings, and emotional support. Indirect responsibilities include parenting siblings and caring for the care recipients' personal affairs. Pediatricians must be aware that his or her dual role as student and caregiver affects these children profoundly. By identifying youth caregivers, measures of intervention and support can be implemented.

The pediatrician's concerns include physical, academic, and psychosocial aspects of growth and development. Physically, these children and young...

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