This week is Carers Week. To recognise Carers Week we raise the questions: What is a young carer? And, what happens?
Young carers are young people up to 25 years of age, who may help care for a parent, a sibling, a child or a grandparent, or even other relatives or a friend who have:
- an illness
- a disability
- a mental illness
- an alcohol or other drug problem
Does the young person help out with:
- cleaning or cooking
- getting the person around the house
- taking the person to medical appointments
- giving medicines
- washing and dressing
- even just making sure the person is feeling okay
Then the young person may be a young carer.
Young carers are often a hidden group of young people. In Victoria there are an estimated 104,700 children and young people with caring responsibilities.
People who care for a family member or friend say there are many rewards:
- The opportunity for personal growth and the development of new skills
- Proving to yourself that you can meet new challenges
- The satisfaction of knowing you have you have helped someone who needs you and done the best you could to improve their quality of life
- Strengthening the relationship with the person you care for and knowing how much they appreciate your help
- Receiving the acknowledgement of your family and friends
Young carers may need additional support to maintain their schooling. Possible ways schools can help young carers are:
- being aware of young carers and the supports available to them
- offering flexible study arrangements
- providing a quiet place where the young carer can talk
- being respectful of young carers wishes and keeping information confidential
- allowing the young carer to call home during the day
- addressing any bullying or harassment issues
- providing extra support when needed e.g. catch up lessons, referrals to support agencies in consultation with the young carer and their family
- developing an educational support plan
- challenging the myths and stigma often associated with disability and mental health issues
Information adapted from: www.carersvictoria.org.au/how-we-help/young-carers
If your child is, or you are a Young Carer, please consider contacting the Wellbeing Team, Home-Group Teacher, or Year Level Coordinator at School.
For further information and support you may like to contact the Carer Advisory Line on 1800 242 636 (weekdays 8:30am to 4:30pm).