What We Do
As Australia’s leading Young Carer organisation, we work with young people who provide unpaid care for a family member with a disability, illness or addiction across a range of direct support programs.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve become a game changing force in the Young Carer space, developing internationally recognised best practice programs and changing the lives of thousands of Young Carers. From cities to rural farms, we work in every corner of Australia, ensuring Young Carers are never left out, forgotten or lonely.
We’re working to improve the quality of life of Young Carers right across the country, with an ultimate vision to ensure that every single Young Carer around the world is supported by someone or something by 2030.
The Little Dreamers story began when our Founder and CEO was just nine years old. She asked the very question that still drives us today: “Who cares for the carers?”
Maddy Buchner grew up caring for her younger brother, who had a range of chronic illnesses, and her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. At nine years of age, she identified a gap in the support system for Young Carers and began to raise awareness through fundraising events and stalls. This eventually culminated in a business plan for an organisation called Little Dreamers, way back in 2009.
More than ten years later and over 5,000 young people reached, we’re now Australia’s leading Young Carer organisation. Across a range of key support programs co-designed with young people in caring roles, we’re breaking down barriers and empowering youths, with a vision to ensure that every Young Carer around the world is supported by someone or something by the year 2030. We’re also working towards the creation of a peak body for Young Carers and the introduction of a National Carer Act in Australia (did you know that this is yet to exist?).
Who is a Young Carer?
A Young Carer is someone under the age of 25 who provides, or intends to provide care for a family member with a disability, illness, mental illness or an addiction.
While Young Carers often learn compassion, kindness and empathy from having a caring role, being a Young Carer can significantly impact on one’s education, social life, employment and mental and physical health.
- 1 in 10 Australian youths are Young Carers
- Carers Australia estimates 2 to 3 Young Carers in every Australian classroom
- 50% of Young Carers live close to or below the poverty line
- 40% of Young Carers do not finish high school
- 60% of Young Carers are unemployed
- 2 in 3 Young Carers experience mental illness
- Young Carers have been named in the top 4 most marginalised youth populations in Australia
Founder and CEO
State Manager (VIC)
State Manager (NSW)
State Manager (QLD)
National Head of Programs
National People and Culture Manager
National Marketing and Events Manager
Education Program Manager
Family Support Worker
Family Support Worker
Big Dreamers Coordinator
Impact Measurement and Research Analyst
Chief Barketing Officer
Clinical Psychologist | Department of Education and Training
Head of Marketing | Thankyou ANZ
Management Consultant | A.T. Kearney
Search Manager | Innovate Online
Group Financial Controller | Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd
People and Culture Manager | Luxury Escapes
People and Culture Director at Remedy Drinks
"Young Carers are some of the most resourceful and resilient people around. Heavy responsibilities rest on their shoulders and they face and overcome challenges, often daily, that most adults would struggle to solve. We should champion all children and young people in caring roles, recognise their talent and support them to have the choices and freedom that the rest of us take for granted."
"There is an emerging consensus that around 10% of children and young people are Young Carers. They are involved in various caring roles for an ill or disabled relative/parent in their family, such as showering them, helping them to the toilet, keeping an eye on them, etc. These children represent a hidden army of young people who are also family carers. They will be on your street, in your community, in your schools . . . . can you see them yet?"
"If you’re a young adult caregiver, I implore you to share your story. Make yourself known. This may mean opening up to a friend, forming an online peer support group, or meeting with your state representative. Whatever you do, however seemingly big or small, is incredibly important in ensuring that the world knows that you serve an invaluable role as a young adult caregiver. Your acts of sacrifice are courageous and inspiring, particularly in a society that increasingly argues that today’s millennials are selfish and narcissistic. You are irreplaceable. You matter."