The Commonwealth Government funds the national Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program to provide support to young carers.
The Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program assists young carers who need support to complete their secondary education or vocational equivalent due to the demands of their caring role.
Young carers are children and young people up to and including 25 years of age who help provide care in families where someone has a mental illness, disability, chronic illness, is frail aged or has an alcohol or other substance problem.
The program has two components:
Enables school aged young carers to access respite and age appropriate support, including educational, social and recreational activities, for example taking a break (respite), time off to study for exams, tutoring, skills development, help at home or activities during the school holidays.
Respite services are delivered by the network of Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres. For further information contact your local Centre on 1800 052 222*.
Young carers up to and including 25 years can access information, advice and referral services to support them in managing the challenges they face as part of their caring role, for example advice, counselling, finding someone to talk to, getting help and support.
These services are delivered by Carers Australia and network of Carers Associations. They can be contacted on 1800 242 636*.
*A free call except from mobile phones. Calls from mobile phones are charged at mobile rates.
Young carers have the opportunity to provide feedback on respite and carer support services they were given. Centres and Associations may have their own evaluation forms at the conclusion of some activities.
There are approximately 340,000 young carers under the age of 25, of which about 20,000 are primary carers (ABS Survey of Disability and Carers, 2003). At least one in ten children in Australia has some level of caring responsibility in their home.
Many young carers spend long hours caring for loved ones, in some cases more than 40 hours a week, while at the same time balancing school or work commitments. They often perform tasks not normally undertaken by young people their age, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, helping with showering and dressing, giving and managing medication, providing emotional support and looking after siblings.