What We Do
Little Dreamers is Australia's leading Young Carer support organisation.
We recognise that not all young people in caring roles label themselves as a carer, because it’s just something that they do. That’s ok! We have six tailored direct support programs that work with Young Carers and their families to enhance their quality of life and overall wellbeing.
From cities to rural farms, we work in every corner of Australia ensuring Young Carers are never left out, forgotten or lonely.
We're also passionate advocates for Young Carers, with a big focus on Government policy and school and workplace carers accreditation.
“Who cares for the carers?” The Little Dreamers story began 18 years ago with this very question.
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 would eventually culminate in a business plan for an organisation called Little Dreamers.
Ten years later and more than 5,000 young people reached, Little Dreamers is now Australia’s leading non-profit for Young Carers. As a face for political reform, Little Dreamers is working towards the creation of a peak body for Young Carers. Across key support programs co-designed with young people in caring roles, we’re breaking down barriers and empowering young people in caring roles, with a vision to ensure that every Young Carer around the world is supported by someone or something by the year 2030.
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 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 marginalised youth groups in Australia
Founder and CEO
Head of Programs
Programs Coordinator NSW
Family Support Coordinator
Family Support Worker
Marketing and Events Coordinator
Impact Measurement and Research Analyst
Big Dreamers Coordinator & Programs Facilitator
Chief Barketing Officer
Clinical Psychologist | Department of Education and Training
Head of Marketing | Thankyou ANZ
Management Consultant | A.T. Kearney
Search Manager | Innovate Online
"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."