1 in 10 carers in Victoria are under 25. Carers Victoria believes all young carers have a right to enjoy life and reach their potential.
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.
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.
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.
Help & Support
Young Carer Online Resources
Young carers website resources – Carers Australia has a useful website for young carers with resources
When your parent has a mental illness – For youth aged 12 to 15 years with a parent who experiences mental illness. This guide has been produced by the Australian Infant, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Association Ltd for the COPMI (Children of Parents with a Mental Illness) national initiative
We Care – ebook online
Support for young carers at school
If you're at school and need help with things like:
- respite - taking a break
- help at home
- getting to sport or other activities
- tutoring or time to study
Call 1800 052 222 to find out how The Commonwealth Respite Centre can help.
Carer advisory line
Call 1800 242 636* (weekdays 8.30am to 5pm) to talk to a Carers Victoria advisor about some common experiences for young carers and, what supports are available for them.
The advisory line can help arrange counselling, find someone to talk to about problems you may have, and get help and support.
The service can also offer suggestions on how your school can support and assist you.
*free call from local phones, mobile calls at mobile rates
Young Carer Events
There are a number of events and a Young Carer Festival held each year. Contact the advisory line or follow our Facebook page to find out how you can take part.
Young Carer Scholarship program
About the scholarship program
Over 71,600 young people in Victoria are believed to have significant care responsibilities. They may support their mother, father, sister, brother or grandparent at home because of a disability or illness. Many are at risk of dropping out of school, or have difficulty establishing social networks and participating in activities that their peers enjoy.
Carers Victoria's Young Carer Scholarship program gives young carers attending secondary school the opportunity to be acknowledged for their contributions to their family and the community and to participate in school or community based activities that enhance their skills, educational achievement and abilities, or that help them to participate more fully in their community.
Scholarships of up to $500 are awarded to successful applicants.
Who can apply
Young Carer Scholarships are open to secondary school students who live in Victoria and provide care and support to a family member with an illness or disability.
Please note the number of scholarships awarded is dependant on the amount of scholarship applications received. Those who receive a Young Carer Bursary will not be eligible.
If you have any questions regarding the Young Carer Scholarship program, please call 1800 242 636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2019 Young Carer Scholarship Program has now closed
The carer counselling program provides carer specific counselling around the impact and experience of being a young carer. Up to six sessions with a counsellor in your local area or telephone counselling can be arranged. Many people find it helpful to have someone to talk to about any issues or challenges they may be facing.
Respite provides temporary relief for carers e.g. time away from the caring situation, personal care for the person being cared for, fun activities, group outings, individual support, camps and holiday programs.
Why is respite important?
Respite helps make time for fun activities that young carers can often miss out on. It can also be an opportunity to connect with other young carers and to get help with school. Respite helps young carers get some time out for themselves - to look after their own health and well-being , to manage juggling their caring role with their education, friendships and other parts of their life. Respite also gives the person being cared for a chance to do some enjoyable activities.
Call the Commonwealth Respite Centre on 1800 052 222* to talk to a worker in your region about how respite could best support a young carer.