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Are you a young carer?
Many young carers are unidentified. This can be for numerous reasons whether it is because young carers don't identify with the label "young carer" or family members, teachers, and other service providers aren't familiar with the signs of being a young carer.
There are more than 71,600 young carers in Victoria. Young carers are hidden in the community so these figures are likely to be underestimates. Many do not identify as a carer.
Some young people may have caring responsibilities although they may not identify with this title. That is okay. Everyone has a unique and different identity that may not fit inside a title. This won't stop you from being able to access supports.
Caring responsibilities can have positive effects, such as developing skills and building strong relationships, as well as some negative short and long-term effects such as poor health and wellbeing, social isolation, difficulty with transitions into adulthood.
"I felt sad if I got sick as there was no one to look after me." – A young carer
What do young carers do?
Young carers often take on a range of responsibilities including:
- shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing and household chores
- specific care tasks such as assisting with mobility, grooming, bathing, toileting
- support and monitoring of the family members needs
- social and emotional support
- managing financial issues – property maintenance, paying bills, banking
- care for other siblings in the family
- liaising with service providers and health care professionals e.g. making appointments, discussing treatments and medications
- interpreting for family members where English is a second language, and
- looking after siblings who have a disability if a parent is unable to look after them because of their own health issues.
"I don't get time off... always cooking, homework, housework." – Mick, 13 years old
The young carer quiz
Do you ever:
- help take care of someone in your household who has a disability, chronic or mental illness, who is frail aged or has an alcohol or other drug problem
- worry about leaving the person you care for home alone
- get a sore back from lifting the person you care for
- feel like you sometimes don't get to do regular stuff with your friends, and
- feel too tired to hang out with your friends or do school work?
If you said yes to any of these, and you would like to:
- have the opportunity to speak to other young carers who may be in a similar situation
- have a chat to someone about your caring role
- get info about support groups
- find out about Young Carer Groups, and
- get personal support for the person you care for.
then check out the resources below.