Elizabeth Olson–PI. This project seeks to conduct transformative research in collaboration with youth caregivers (also “young carers”), or children and young people under the age of 18 who assume caring responsibilities in their home or a nearby home. Children and adolescents are unrecognized participants in the informal, unwaged family caregiving that millions of Americans undertake to sustain their family members daily. Youth caregivers take on a range of roles when supporting a parent, guardian, relative or sibling who is chronically ill, disabled, has a mental health problem or other medically-related condition that requires support for everyday activities. Their caregiving work ranges from supporting activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, bathing and eating, to activities instrumental to daily living (AIDLs) such as shopping, transportation or administering medicine. Some young people may be secondary caregivers, while others might be primary caregivers and largely responsible for the well-being of one or more family members. A 2004 survey estimated that at least 1.3 million young people regularly provide care of this kind in the U.S., with some young people providing over 40 hours of caregiving each week. There is evidence that youth caregivers experience systematic barriers to education, mental and physical health problems, and restricted employment and educational options during transitions to adulthood and throughout the life course, and also indications that other youth caregivers acquire skills related to resilience and empathy over time. However, youth caregivers are conspicuously absent from research on the emerging caregiving crisis in the U.S. They are also not recognized by professionals who work with youth, including pediatricians, social workers and teachers, and are excluded from caregiver support programs by virtue of being under the age of 18. This project will produce and promote qualitative research to influence interdisciplinary debates about the science and politics of caregiving youth, with new theoretical frameworks and empirical insights for U.S. research, and new geographical methodologies for emerging international agendas.