Little Dreamers has released a recommendations report for the Australian Government as part of their ongoing advocacy initiative called The Young Carer Advocacy Project.
Funded by the Department of Health, The Young Carer Advocacy Project provides Young Carers with a platform to influence their community and create policy change, embedding support within the fabric of Australian society.
The final report has been co-developed and researched by Little Dreamers staff and Young Carers aged 15-25 from around Australia. Extensive focus groups, surveys and consultations have informed the final calls for greater support of young people who provide unpaid care for a family member with a disability, illness or addiction.
Caring responsibilities have significant impacts on the lives of young people, impacting their ability to engage in education and employment and creating increased financial hardship, social isolation and the fear of stigma and bullying. These hardships sit alongside increased maturity, independence, compassion, resilience and empathy, which often make Young Carers harder to identify and easier to overlook.
“In the report, we advise how the Federal Government can identify, understand, support and celebrate Young Carers through increased support programs and accessible Government services. The overall objectives are to create a more inclusive and knowledgeable Australian society, reduce the significant disadvantages and inequalities faced by Young Carers and ensure they have access to the same life opportunities as their non-caring peers,” says Little Dreamers Founder and CEO, Madeleine Buchner.
These key recommendations of the report are:
- Education: implementation of compulsory training for teachers to better identify, support and engage Young Carers in the classroom;
- Social awareness: A nation wide Young Carer survey to include Young Carers under the age of 15, to increase identification and acknowledgement of Young Carers and ensure they are recognised in Government reports;
- Service accessibility: Assessment of current Government services through consultation with Young Carers and the increase in accessibility of these services; and
- Social connection: consistency and growth in the delivery of direct support programs for Young Carers
“Young Carers are an essential part of our community…not only are they currently contributing to the community in massive ways, they have massive potential to contribute. Supporting Young Carers is a great budgetary investment – the money spent on Young Carer programs will come back in so many different ways. The budget would be broken if Young Carers couldn’t do their job anymore,” said one Young Carer participant.
As part of The Young Carer Advocacy Project, Young Carer Ambassadors will now meet to discuss the report with local politicians to generate greater awareness and support.
Access the full report here: bit.ly/ycap-report