Parents and carers

Do you have a child interested in joining the Army Cadet Force?


The Army Cadet Force (ACF) can offer a lot of exciting opportunities to young people from 12 and 17 years old, but we know that parents and carers will have questions about the ACF, what it does and the kind of activities our cadets take part in. If you are a parent or carer of a young person in the ACF, or of one who is looking to join us, this section is for you.

The basics…

The ACF is:

  • A national voluntary youth organisation sponsored and supported by the Army but not part of it – there is no requirement for cadets to join the Army when they leave.
  • Open to young people from 12 to 17 years old, and who are in at least year 8 at school in England and Wales, and year 9 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • A safe place for young people regardless of background to learn new skills, develop themselves and try activities they might not get the chance to elsewhere.

The ACF does:

  • Challenge young people to learn more, do more and try more.
  • Offer a wide range of challenging, adventurous and educational activities designed to help young people to develop and thrive.
  • Give young people the chance to gain nationally recognised qualifications and skills that they can take with them into further education or the workplace.

The activities

The ACF isn’t just about marching around the drill square. We offer cadets an exciting programme of activities and event over the course of the year. There is also the opportunity to embark on overseas exchanges, adventurous training, expeditions and sports competition, to name but a few of the options available. They might even want to learn a new musical instrument in one of our many bands.

The list of activities our cadets take part in is always growing. Find out more about why your child should join us in the ACF or see if your questions are on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Safeguarding and safety

Creating a safe environment for all our cadets to take part in the range of exciting activities we offer is paramount to us. All our volunteers undertake detailed safeguarding checks, as well as training on how to deal with safeguarding issues. We also provide training and qualifications for our volunteers so they can carry out activities and events as safely as possible. Find out more about how we safeguard and protect our cadets.

Equality and diversity

The ACF strives to be an inclusive and diverse organisation that supports young people and adults alike to reach their true potential regardless of background. We view this to be one of our greatest strengths and something we are proud of.

Data Protection

As part of our commitment to the safeguarding and safety of our cadets, the Army Cadets take great care in how we manage our cadets’ information. We will only ask for the minimum information needed to help us provide safe training and events and hold this information securely. Find out more about how we collect, handle and store your child’s data.

How to join the ACF

Hopefully we have managed to answer your questions in this section. Joining the ACF is easy, just fill in the simple online form and we will email you details of the ACF County closest to you. Give them a call or drop them an e-mail and they will let you know where your closest detachment is and what night they meet. Then just head over to join our cadets and volunteers to find out more about us.