Media Release by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Launch of New Resource to Help Schools and Teachers Become ‘Care Aware’

More than 150,000 young carers in schools across Australia will get extra support to balance their school work with their caring responsibilities, thanks to a new Australian Government resource.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Amanda Rishworth today launched the Educator’s Initiative at the South Bank Institute of Technology in Brisbane, at an event to celebrate young carers as a part of National Youth Week.

Ms Rishworth said “In Australia, more than 300,000 young people aged under 25 years spend time every day caring for a parent, family member, or friend with disability. That’s an average of two or three young carers in every classroom.

“This can put significant pressure on the education of these young people. Yet many young carers are reluctant to ask for help.

“Teachers are in a unique position to support young carers through their schooling. They can provide enormous relief to their students by simply being aware of their situation and referring them to support services available.

“The Educator’s Initiative, part of the Government’s $60 million Carer Strategy, will help schools, teachers and students recognise the additional responsibilities carried by young carers, and give them the support they need in the classroom.

“Teachers will have access to a range of online tools and resources to help them identify young carers in their classroom who might be reluctant to ask for help. Teachers can really help boost their confidence just by listening to to them talk about their caring experiences.”

Ms Rishworth said young carers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the requirements of their caring role.

“Young carers take on responsibilities well beyond their years, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting finances, managing medication and assisting with personal care, with little time left to focus on their studies.

“That’s why the Australian Government remains committed to supporting these extraordinary young people.

“In 2011, we launched our National Carer Strategy, which, for the first time, takes a national approach to better respond to the needs of carers, so that carers have the same rights, choices and opportunities as other Australians.

“The strategy includes $1.6 million to deliver a national campaign to raise awareness and recognise the role and contribution carers make to individuals and the community.

“And it includes $8 million each year to support young carers who are at risk of not completing Year 12.

“These are very important investments, but DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, will truly transform the way Australians with disability get the care and support they need.

“The Gillard Government is investing $1 billion over four years to roll out the first stage of DisabilityCare Australia, which will give people with disabilities, their families and carers, control and choice over their care and support.”