There are 904,400 carers living in NSW. This means that at least 1 in 10 of us is a carer in NSW.
The NSW Government’s vision for the carers in NSW is that they are supported to participate fully in their own social and economic life. We want them to be healthy and live well. Read on to learn about some of the ways we’re making this happen.
Carers provide regular support to people who need it because they have disability, chronic illness, mental illness, dementia or are frail aged. People are also carers if they are looking after a child who has additional longer-term needs compared to a child of a similar age.
A carer is not paid to care, although they may receive a pension or allowance for their caring role. Carers can balance caring with employment, school and/or have other commitments at the time they take on the role of caring.
People of all ages can be a carer, including:
- an older person caring for a child with disability who has grown up
- a child or young person caring for a parent with disability
- a parent caring for a child with disability
- a relative or friend caring for an older person.
See our Young carers page for information about how FACS is helping young people who are carers.
The Carers Strategy
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is the lead agency for carers in NSW and has led development of the NSW Carers Strategy (the Strategy), with assistance from the Ministry for Health and Carers NSW. FACS brought hundreds of peoples’ ideas together through collaborative workshops, the NSW Ministerial Carers Strategy Summit and Have Your Say online consultation.
Laurel Lambert is a 2015 Highly Commended NSW Carers Award recipient who has cared for her adult daughter since she was born. She talks about the pride associated with being a carer.
The Australian Government has launched a service for people who care for someone with a disability, chronic illness, dementia, mental illness, or who are frail due to age. Carer Gateway will make it easier for carers to find information, advice and services, with targeted sections for young carers, older carers, working carers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers and culturally and linguistically diverse carers. For more information visit www.carergateway.gov.au.
Carers Investment Program
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is providing $5.6m over three years for projects that will improve the well-being of carers in NSW. The Carer Investment Program has evolved from the current Carer Grants program. The new Carer Investment Program will see FACS continue to invest $1.86m per annum in projects to improve support for carers. Funding will focus on projects with evidence-based outcomes and those that align with carer priorities as identified in the NSW Carers Strategy 2014-19, the NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 and other relevant reforms in the sector.
A two stage procurement process conducted in 2017/18 has now been finalised, with
. 14 innovative carer projects to receive funding, selected from a competitive field of 128 proposals.
Organisations and projects funded through the Carers Investment Program commencing 1 July 2018 are:
Carer Peer Connect (Statewide)
A multi-component project that will create an online peer support community and provide carers with access to other carers who may have similar lived experience, needs and challenges. It will provide online support and education as well as local face to face forums and interactive webinars. This three-year project will complement and provide learnings relevant to the introduction of the Commonwealth funded Integrated Carer Support Service.
Provides dedicated support to carers to enhance their capacity to engage or re-engage with paid work. The project is designed to assist carers wishing to re-enter the workforce during or directly following a caring role. The project will leverage existing resources and networks, including the SkillsLink2Work tool, and the Employers and Carers Network led by Carers NSW. This project commences in July 2019.
The YC Drive project will enable young carers to learn to drive, partnering them with a volunteer driving instructor/mentor. The project aims to address common financial and practical barriers that prevent young carers from accessing personal transport, and therefore some employment, educational and other opportunities, facilitating increased socio-economic participation.
Catholic Care Wollongong
Deadly SIBS (Illawarra/Shoalhaven)
Family and Siblings Support Program (Deadly SIBS) provides social respite to Illawarra families who have a child with a disability or a chronic illness. The SIBS Deadly project aims to enhance engagement with Aboriginal families with a focus on supporting young carers, who are often seen as the “forgotten carers” and for whom there are few support services available. Funding will be used to establish relationships, provide incentives to participate in the SIBS program, and develop culturally appropriate materials.
Central Coast Local Health District
Hospital in the Home Project (Central Coast)
This project will ensure appropriate carer engagement in a key element of a program designed to shift health care from hospitals to the familiarity and safety of the patient’s home. The Hospital In The Home (HITH) program guidelines mandate extensive risk assessment with patients and their carer prior to admission to the program. However in practice there is little evidence of carer capacity testing being undertaken prior to admission. This project will provide information and advice to carers and other stakeholders on the Central Coast by collaboratively developing standard measures of carer capacity and preparedness to provide care at home following hospitalisation (specifically under the Hospital in the Home Program). The project will improve the evidence base, carer engagement, and carer health and wellbeing and community awareness.
Conservation Volunteers Australia
Green Gym (Western Sydney and Far North Coast)
Green Gym is a peer-support program for carers that combines health and social interaction with conservation. Carers come together to tend community parks and gardens and improve their health and wellbeing. Carers will engage in meaningful nature-based activities with other carers, and enjoy healthy exercise which helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Regular attendance will build social connections between people who understand the challenges caring presents.
Virtual Reality Experience for Carers of People Living Dementia (Statewide)
Virtual Reality Experience for Carers of People Living with Dementia is a workshop that provides a virtual reality dementia experience, enabling the participant to ‘see’ through the eyes of a person living with dementia. The workshop will enhance the carers’ understanding of dementia while exploring supportive approaches to enable people with dementia and their carers to live more confidently at home. The program is underpinned by group information, education, peer support and post session support and coaching as required.
Mid Coast Communities Incorporated
NDIS rollout impact on regional carers (Mid-North Coast)
This research project will consult with carers living in the Mid North Coast area about the impact of the rollout of the NDIS. The project objective is to improve the evidence base, carer engagement and carer health and wellbeing. It is being conducted in partnership with Southern Cross University. The research will investigate if and how employment, education, health and wellbeing outcomes change for carers of NDIS participants, and in what timeframe, as well as whether carers feel involved in decisions that affect them and the person joining the NDIS scheme
Multicultural Weavers Project (Sydney Region)
This project with adapt, trial, and evaluate the Weavers model of 1:1 carer peer support within a new context. The Weavers model has been proven to be successful, cost effective model in a variety of settings but has not been widely applied within multicultural communities. The project will provide information and advice to carers and other stakeholders in the Sydney District on peer support for carers from a CALD background. There are a number of expected outcomes as a result of the Multicultural Weavers Project:
- Carers experience improved health and wellbeing outcomes
- Carers are able to easily access information when they need it
- Carers feel the broader community understands their experience
- Carers policy and practice is informed by quality evidence
Medicinewise Carers Project (Statewide)
Provide information and advice to carers and other stakeholders and improve carers’ access to trusted, evidence-based information through a mobile digital solution. NPS MedicineWise will leverage their consumer medicines expertise and their flagship mobile application, the MedicineWise App. Carers will receive relevant information through a technology they are familiar with, and access practical tools that enable them to manage medicines, schedules/prompts and notes, and share necessary information with health professionals. The project also aims to identify gaps in carer information.
TAFE NSW - Community Services and Health
Upskilling Carers (Statewide)
‘Up Skilling Carers’ is a TAFE NSW initiative that will complement SkillsLink2Work, to develop a current and customisable assessment tool for carers to identify their current skills, their career goals and aspirations, and help to start the conversation with a teaching specialist at TAFE NSW on career pathways and study options. After completing the assessment, carers will be put in contact with a specialist from TAFE NSW who will be their point of contact linking the carer to Recognition of Prior Learning, gap training and support services that are relevant to the individual carer’s requirements. The project seeks to take the client’s journey beyond the screening tool, providing individualised consultation and support to the carer as they commence path from recognising current skills, identifying skills gaps, and developing a program of stud
University of South Australia – Institute for Choice
’s in the balance….exploring NSW carers’ career-to-care goals (Statewide)
Provide information and advice to carers and other stakeholders and increase carers opportunities to participate in paid work by understanding the choices and trade offs they make. The research will improve employment and education opportunities and build the evidence base. This research base seeks to increase carers’ opportunities to participate in paid work by understanding the choices and trade-offs they make in order to stay in the workforce. Care can be a combination of conflicting social roles (work, family and care) invariably with constantly competing demands. The study identifies:
- What (career to care) goals are important to carers
- What are carer’s preferences for work-care flexibility, and
- How to align these with the skill sets most highly valued by NSW based employers
University of Technology Sydney - Institute for Public Policy and Governance
Centre for Carers Research (Statewide)
Establish a Centre for Research in partnership with the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) within the University of Technology Institute for Public Policy and Governance as a strategic research program dedicated to improving the evidence base for carers. The Centre will work with FACS and the non-government sector to develop an annual program of industry-relevant research drawing on existing data and new primary data collection. The research will be aligned with the priority areas of the NSW Carers Strategy and the Carers Investment Program to ensure that it targets areas of strategic importance for carers.
Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre Aboriginal Corporation
Caring - is what we do (Murrumbidgee - Deniliquin)
The intent of the project is to effectively and meaningfully model implementation of the NSW Carers Strategy in a place based context in Deniliquin. The project will include practical, creative strategies to support Aboriginal carers and to build capacity in the community. It will produce evidence, outcomes and tools that can be adapted to support carers in other communities. Examples are local models to support Aboriginal families by making available culturally appropriate information about carer health and well being in places they already visit (GP and hospital waiting rooms) and translation of the NSW Carers Charter into local language.
Further information and contacts details for these projects will be available on this website soon. FACS contact: email@example.com
Background to the NSW Carers Strategy
5 priority areas were identified through extensive consultation with carers and other stakeholders:
- Employment and Education
- Carer health and wellbeing
- Information and community awareness
- Carer engagement
- Improving the evidence base.
The specific needs of carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal carers, carers living in rural and remote areas, young carers and older carers have been considered during the Strategy's development.
We have worked collaboratively with other organisations, including through a Project Management Group comprising internal and external stakeholders. Read more about our Carers Strategy Project Management Group. We will continue to work collaboratively as we implement the Strategy.
The background paper was the starting point for discussion.