Media Release by Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Who cares? Young people

At least one in every ten young people has some level of responsibility as a carer at home, which means that there are likely to be two or three young carers in every school classroom.

The needs of these young carers will be further recognised following the release of a valuable information resource kit for teachers and students launched today at Darwin High School by Minister for Community Services Senator Nigel Scullion.

‘More than 390,000 young people across Australia have caring responsibilities at home, due to a family member or friend’s disability, illness, mental illness, frail age, or alcohol or drug problem,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘The Supporting Young Carers in Secondary Schools resource has been developed to support young carers by raising awareness of their needs and making suggestions on how they can be supported in the school environment.

‘This resource is something I hope will help their peers and teachers acknowledge the challenges faced by the growing number of young carers, particularly in completing their education. Young carers should be very proud of the role they play in their families and I hope this kit will help them recognise that and seek assistance where required,’ Senator Scullion said.

‘Research carried out in 2005 by Carers Australia identified that young carers highly valued their schooling, as it not only meets their educational needs but also provides them with respite from their caring role at home.

‘The research formed the basis for the development of the Young Carers in Secondary Schools resource, which has been developed in consultation with young carers, carers associations, education professionals and service providers,’ Senator Scullion said.

The resource will be distributed to every secondary school throughout Australia, through prominent school teaching journals and the young carers website, as well as being available through the state and territory carers associations.