Some young people around 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 Young Carers NSW website created by Carers NSW. According to Young Carers NSW they 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.
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.
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 about:
- 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
- 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 careers and invites them to share their stories
Young carers may also be eligible for financial support from the Australian Government Department of Human Services. See the Human Services website for more information. The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres (CRCCs) also offers help to young carers and their families by providing respite support.
The Carer Gateway site, launched by the Australian Government, is another useful resource for anyone caring for a person with a disability, chronic illness, dementia, mental illness or fraility due to age. It includes a Young Carers section that provides targeted information and advice on financial support and services young carers can access.
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.
Information for professionals includes links to research and workshops such as an online course on Identifying and supporting young carers.
The section for the parents of young carers provides resources to help parents support their child and connect them to a network of peers and also to services.