Some young people in NSW are caring for a parent, sibling, grand parent, other family member or a friend while also juggling important activities such as attending school, university or college.
NSW Government defines 'young carers' as those aged 25 or under who help support someone with a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependence, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.
To help young people recognise their role as a carer and connect with the right support and also a network of their peers, we fund the NSW Young Carers Project auspiced by Carers NSW. Young carers can be "daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, granddaughters, grandsons, nieces, nephews, cousins and even friends" and while they have a lot in common each person's circumstances are also unique to them.
Jenny Tran is a young carer who is a member of the NSW Carers Advisory Council. Jenny has been caring for her mother since she had a stroke in 2010. She talks about the rewards of being a carer in this video.
What do young carers do?
On a day-to-day basis, young carers may provide a wide range of practical and emotional help to the person they care for, including:
- accompanying them to medical appointments
- providing social and emotional support
- helping with personal care and mobility
- administering or reminding about medication
- buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, managing household finances
- helping to arrange services.
It's important to remember that the young carer carries out these tasks and responsibilities in addition to attending school, completing homework and other life duties. Often, every aspect of a young carer's life is affected by their caring role.
To find out more about what the Carers NSW Young Carers program has to offer, click here.
Information and support for young carers
DCJ supports the Young Carers NSW website created by Carers NSW, which serves as a central point of information and connection for young people with caring responsibilities. The website provides a tonne of useful information including:
- the YC Program - (Carers NSW Young Carer Program) a free service that includes advice and support such as how to access face-to-face counselling, the telephone service Talk-Link and other options
- tips on managing stress, taking time out and accessing respite care
- being a carer when you come from a culturally and linguistic diverse background
- how to connect with other young carers including via the Young Carer's Facebook page
- the Who Cares? App developed by young carers for young carers. The app helps young people recognise themselves as carers and invites them to share their stories
To find out more about what the Carers NSW Young Carers program has to offer, click here
Other services that may be of assistance to young carers include the Commonwealth Carer Gateway program. The Carer Gateway provides general tips, targeted information and advice on financial support and services young carers can access. This includes information on young carer related payments, student loans and the Young Carer Bursary Program. There are also other helpful tools and resources to help manage your caring role available on their website. To learn more about the Carer Gateway click here
Young Carers are also encouraged to seek financial support where eligible. More information on eligibility can be found of the Services Australia website on www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.
Support for professionals and parents
If you're the parent of a young carer or you're a professional working with a young carer, or a family you think might include a young carer, the Young Carer website has a section for professionals and also for parents. The Young Carers website offers advice and resources for parents of young carers to help support their child and connect them to a network of peers and also to services.
Information is also available for professionals including links to research and workshops such as an online course on identifying and supporting young carers. To find out more click here
The NSW Department of Education also acknowledges the role of young carers and the challenges they may encounter juggling school study responsibilities and their caring role. As part of their commitment to young carers, they have created a resource Being a Carer, Being a Student and Being a Kid: A Resource for Schools.To find out more, click here.