Young carer.jpgThe ACCP has sought to understand the experiences of young people who have experienced challenges within their childhoods and to inform service systems (including child protection, family welfare and community services) to ensure that their needs are met.

Children and young people who live in families affected by mental health issues, alcohol or other drug problems, or who have family members with disabilities and other chronic conditions, may face a range of barriers to supports and services, and often experience physical, emotional, social and safety issues during childhood and into adulthood.

For the past 20 years, ACCP’s Deputy Director, Tim Moore, has conducted studies and has been a strong advocate for young carers, defined broadly as young people aged up to 25 years (Carers Australia 2019), who care, or help care, in a family affected by disability, mental illness, chronic health conditions, terminal illness, alcohol or other drug issues, or frail age (Moore and McArthur 2007).

Studies in Australia and abroad suggest that although many young carers appreciate their caring role and the ability to care for those they care about, caring can take its toll on a young person’s physical, emotional, social, psychological wellbeing both now and into the future.

Recently, the Centre explored the impact that being a young carer had on education in the ground-breaking report "Young carers and their engagement with education: No space in my brain to learn".  The report drew from the findings of a research project commissioned by Carers Australia and carried out in partnership with researchers from the School of Allied Health at Monash University. ACCP team members included Tim Moore, Stewart McDougall and Leah Bromfield, who partnered with collaborators from the School of Primary and Allied Health Care (Monash University).

Click here to read the full report: Young carers and their engagement with education: 'No space in my brain to learn'

The study found that although some young carers were doing well, many found it hard to get to school, to concentrate, to keep up and to spend time with friends. Young women, young carers caring for multiple relatives, those who had been caring for some time, and those whose families were provided minimal support were identified as being at greater risk of poor educational participation, achievement and self-reported wellbeing.

This innovative study identified a number of things that may assist young carers in overcoming the challenges they face when trying to balance their caring responsibilities and educational engagement. It highlighted several key measures which young carers reported would better assist them, including receiving more support for their families, a greater understanding from teachers and schools, more help to lower their caring responsibilities, the appointment of an individual within their school to understand and assist, and greater flexibility.

Deputy Director Tim Moore also joined a panel of experts to discuss some of the other biggest issues facing young carers today in a special Lived Experiences of Young Carers Livestream. The full video is available at: