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For Parents

As many as 275,000 Australians under the age of 25 (4% of all young people within this same age range) [i] help to support a family member who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail. This section of the website has information for parents about supporting a young carer in the family.

Is my child a young carer?

Are you a parent who cares for a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail?

If so, then chances are one or more of your children helps you to provide care and/or takes on additional responsibilities. This makes them a young carer.

Are you a parent who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition or terminal illness?

If so, then chances are one or more of your children provides you with care and support, and can therefore be considered a young carer .

To be a young carer, a child does not need to live with the person the care for, does not need to receive a payment and does not need to be the primary source of care.

It may be surprising, upsetting or confusing to think of your child as a young carer. However by identifying as a young carer, a young person can feel acknowledged for the role they play in the family. With support in place, caring for a loved one can have a positive impact on a young person.

Research in Australia has revealed that the challenges of caring can lead young people to develop new life skills as well as maturity, compassion and stronger family bonds.[ii]

What can I do?

  • Talk to your child about their caring role. You can order some youth friendly resources here to assist with this.
  • Talk to your child about the disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency or illness affecting the family.
  • Make sure they know that they are not alone. Read some young carer stories with your child or help them to join the Young Carer Program.
  • Celebrate the positives! Young carers often develop strong family bonds, have a caring nature and are resilient.
  • Inform your child’s school about their caring role so they can provide support. Direct them to this website or encourage them to contact us.
  • Acknowledge and express appreciation for the help that your child is able to provide.
  • Ensure that you each get to have some breaks from caring. By joining the Young Carer Program, your child may be able to attend some activity days.
  • Make sure your child feels involved in decisions about care.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call the Carer Line on 1800 242 636 to chat about counselling or respite services available to your family.

[i] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2015 [ii] Cass et al (2009), Young carers in Australia understanding the advantages and disadvantages of their care giving.