Tens of thousands of young carers in Scotland desperately need support, according to campaigners.
Experts warn that young carers do not get enough help
The 2001 census put the figure of young carers at just under 17,000, but the Princess Royal Trust for Carers thinks the total could be nearer 100,000.
Campaigners argue that without knowing who the young people are, it is extremely difficult to make sure they are being supported.
The problems were highlighted at a summit in Edinburgh on Monday.
It was designed to bring together all those responsible for young carers, including health, education and social work professionals.
The aim is to urge them, along with government ministers, to develop a comprehensive service for all young carers.
Charity workers stress the priority is to ensure they are identified early and then supported properly.
They said last year that children who care for their parents could be saving the Scottish Executive more than £1bn per year.
Experts estimate that up to 14% of seven to 19-year-olds in Scotland look after someone with an illness, disability or health problem.
The trust said teachers can be unaware of young carers because children whose parents have drink and drug problems remain silent about their plight for fear of being taken into care.
They are often having to do homework between supporting disabled parents and preparing dinner.
Ministers insisted cash for all carers in Scotland has increased dramatically, stressing that in just four years it has gone from £5m to £21m.
But Rob Warren, the director of Edinburgh Young Carers Project, said most of the money had been targeted at adult carers.