For service providers

Young carers often take on their caring role without help or supervision. Service providers are vital to building a professional support network for young people who are caring to make sure they can be healthy and happy.

For service providers

Young carers often take on their caring role without help or supervision. Service providers are vital to building a professional support network for young people who are caring to make sure they can be healthy and happy.

How do I identify young carers?

If you work with young people here are some signs young carers may show:

  • frequently late or absent from school or work with no explanation
  • isolated from their peers and subjected to bullying or harassment
  • under achievement in education e.g. difficulty concentrating, home work may be late, incomplete or of a poor standard
  • appear anxious, distracted, tired, stressed or withdrawn
  • poor health or physical problems e.g. back pain from lifting
  • trouble participating in extra curricular activities, social or sporting activities
  • ability to talk and communicate with adults
  • high level of negotiation skills with medical practitioners or service providers
  • knowledge about specific conditions, illnesses or disabilities
  • appear mature beyond their year, or
  • continually calling home.

If you work with adult clients with a disability, chronic illness, mental illness or who are frail aged it is possible to assist with identifying young carers. Ask your adult clients:

  • whether they have children under twenty-five, and
  • what sort of tasks their children undertake.
"Just listen and take notice of kids, because they're not going to say, ' oh yeah my mum's sick' and blab it out to everyone." - a young carer

What can I do to help?

Service providers can support young carers by:

  • including young carers in treatment plans of the person they are caring for
  • offering information about the condition or illness the person they are caring for has, (e.g. information about medications and their possible side effects)
  • asking young carers what support they require in their caring role
  • listening and talking to young carers in a safe and supportive environment: make time for the young carer to ask questions 
  • referring young carers to appropriate support agencies, and
  • suggesting possible strategies and services to make the caring role easier.

What do I ask?

When talking to young carers, some useful questions to ask may be:

  • Are you okay? How are you going?
  • Would it help to talk to someone about caring?
  • Do you need some time out?
  • What else do you need that would make a difference?
  • What supports do you have for yourself and the person you are caring for?
"Don't talk down to us; yes, we are kids - but we've been through a lot more than most" - a young carer

Young Carer Service Provider Network – Join now!

Young carers are too often a hidden group of young people, our aim is to support young carers by identifying each young carer's needs and referring them to appropriate support services. We support those in the community who work with young people to ensure young carers continue to be identified and are well supported in their caring role.

A primary focus is to help young carers remain in education, there are various programs designed to achieve this goal and the government provides support for young carers to stay in higher education through their national Young Carer Bursary Programme.

Carers Victoria is committed to raising awareness of young carers in the community and to supporting schools and services to better provide for their needs. Carers Victoria aims to reach all young carers across the state, in their various caring situations, whether it is a young person caring for a parent, sibling or other family member with a mental illness, disability or chronic health condition, or who is elderly. We aim to reach and lend support to young carers of CALD background, who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, or those living in more regional or remote locations. 

The Young Carer Statewide Program Coordinator liaises with various sectors and service providers across the state to better equip them to identify and cater for young carers' needs.

Carers Victoria coordinates a Young Carer Service Provider Network (YCSPN) consisting of people who work with young carers (including social workers, youth workers, school counsellors, wellbeing workers, mental health workers and disability support workers). This network has over 75 members from 46 different organisations across the state and serves to keep members informed of services and supports for young carers in Victoria.

There are many activities and programs running across the state and most young carers express that they find it meaningful to be a part of something, appreciate having their extra responsibilities acknowledged, and find it helpful/reassuring to know they are not alone in their caring situation.

If you are interested to be added to the email list for this network please contact the Program Coordinator on 03 9248 9636 or for further queries relating to young carer supports please phone 1800 242 636 or email the Young Carer Statewide Program Coordinator.

What supports are available?

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.*free call from local phones, mobile calls at mobile rates

Supports include:

  • counselling
  • information, support, and resources
  • respite
  • young carer scholarships

 

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