Media Release by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Supporting young carers

Young carers will continue to receive much needed respite and support services with the Australian Government announcing an $8.2 million investment to extend the Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program for a year.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disability and Carers Amanda Rishworth, said that under the program young carers can get the respite and carer support services that are so essential to help them stay at school and complete their education.

Ms Rishworth said “The Australian Government understands that caring for a parent, brother or sister can impose significant responsibility on children and young people.

“Many young carers are putting in long hours of caring, in some cases 40 hours or more a week, while trying to keep up with school, homework and assignments.

“The impact of caring means for many of these young people that their schooling is disrupted and they can miss out on the ordinary activities of growing up such as sport and time with friends.”

Ms Rishworth said “This $8.2 million investment by the Federal Labor Government will mean young carers in Australia continue to have access to the respite and support services they need and deserve.

“As part of this program, Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide access to critical respite services to assist school aged young carers, in some cases primary school aged children.

“The Centres also provide carer support to reduce stress on the young carer through educational, social and recreational activities, for example time off to study for exams, tutoring, skills development like cooking or budgeting and activities in the school holidays.

“Under the information services component of the program, delivered by Carers Australia, young carers can also access important information, advice and referral services, including referral to counselling, to support them in managing the challenges they face as a carer.”

In 2011-12 this program assisted 3,987 young carers across Australia with respite services and many more with information, referral and advice services.