Being a young carer

If you're a young carer, you're not alone. There are over 380,000 carers under the age of 26 across Australia. Being a young carer can be a tough job, and it's important to know your rights.

This might help if:

  • You are a young carer
  • You know a young carer
  • You want info on carer's rights
Daughter hugging father

Being a young carer

A carer is someone who provides support at home for parents, brothers or sisters, or any other family member who has a disability, mental illness or other long-term illness.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) says that there are approximately 380,000 Carers under the age of 26 in Australia. Young carers often have a large responsibility and may have to balance their own needs with those of the person or people they are looking after.

Although being a carer can be a rewarding experience, there may also be times when you feel frustrated, angry or alone. It’s worth remembering that in order for you to be the best carer you can be, your physical and emotional health need to be looked after.

Suggestions for looking after yourself

Take time out
It may be hard to get time to yourself. However it is important to try and get to do what you enjoy doing. You may want to play a sport, hang out with friends, listen to music or go for a walk.

Talk to someone
It is normal for you to have times when you are feeling angry, frustrated, guilty, sad, scared or worried. During those times it may be helpful to talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Friends, other carers, counsellors and family members are people who might be able to help you get through a tough time.

Your rights as a young carer

As a young carer you should:
  • Be able to choose to be a carer. 
  • Expect to be treated separately from the person needing care.
  • Be heard, listened to, and believed. 
  • Be respected. 
  • Be able to receive respite and other health, social and practical support that is specific to your needs.
  • Be protected from physical and psychological harm.
  • Be offered access to trained individuals and agencies that can provide information, advice and support.
  • Be able to access independent and confidential representation in terms of needs, strengths, weaknesses and racial, cultural, and religious preferences.
  • Be able to appeal and complain.
  • Be able to choose to stop caring.
Last reviewed: 07 July, 2015
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