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Young Carers — Identification and Support

Policy

This policy sets out requirements for schools and education providers to identify young carers and ensure they are supported.

Summary

  • If a young carer is identified, this must be recorded in CASES21.
  • Principals should establish a Student Support Group for the young person with caring responsibilities and an Individual Education Plan where this would help to address the needs of the young person.
  • If a young carer is identified, a trusted school staff member or other professional must follow up with the student to determine what supports the young person might benefit from, including considering reasonable adjustments and referral to relevant external support services.
  • The Guidance tab provides detailed information for schools on identifying and supporting young carers.

Details

The Department is committed to identifying and supporting students who are young carers. A young carer is a young person under 25 years of age who provides, or intends to provide care, assistance or support to a family member with a mental illness, physical illness, disability, chronic illness, or who is aged or has an addiction. The level and regularity of care provided is more than might be expected of a young person of a similar age or cultural affiliation. The care that young carers provide may be ongoing, time-limited or episodic.

When a young carer has been identified, schools must:

  • record the status of the student as a young carer in CASES21
  • explain to the student, in age appropriate way, and their family that young carer status will be noted on their records to ensure they get all the supports they need
  • establish a Student Support Group, where appropriate
  • establish an Individual Education Plan, where appropriate
  • make reasonable adjustments within school to facilitate the student’s learning in the context of their caring responsibilities
  • make the student/family aware of relevant external supports that can assist with responding to the student’s needs 
  • ensure all relevant staff at the school are aware of the young carer status (in keeping with privacy and confidentiality parameters) and the subsequent support the school has put in place

Further, more detailed information on identifying and supporting young carers is available on the Guidance tab.

External support services available to young carers

Carer Gateway — A national online and phone service funded by the Australian Government that provides practical information and resources to support carers (including young carers).

Integrated Carer Support Services (ICSS) — The Commonwealth Government funded ICSS provides a range of online services through the Carer Gateway. Services include counselling, peer support, coaching and educational resources. These supports can be accessed through the Carer Gateway which is available at Respite.

Young Carers Network — An online space for young carers to learn about support services, access resources and share their story and opinions.

Carers Victoria — offer support for all carers of any age, including a support line, counselling, respite and events.

Little Dreamers — A national peak organisation supporting young people who provide care for a family member by linking them to peer support groups, school holiday programs, and leadership and personal development opportunities.

Youth Beyond Blue

Support for Carers program — The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides person centred respite and other support to carers:

  • one-off or short term support for carers including goods and equipment, that can add to other services or fill service gaps
  • support to people in a care relationship, and at the same time and place if people want to be together while having the support service
  • supporting people's wellbeing — quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, social activity and or social connections

To find your local Victorian Support for Carers Program local service, ring free call 1800 514 845 for information.

Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness (FaPMI) — FaPMI Coordinators are based across the state in local area mental health service catchment areas. They work to reduce the impact of parental mental illness on all family members through timely, coordinated, preventative and supportive action within adult mental health services.

Tandem — Provide individual advocacy, support and referral for family members and friends supporting someone with mental health challenges. Supports are available to any person of any age who is supporting a family member or friend with mental health issues.

Satellite Foundation — Specific to children and young people where a parent has a mental illness, Satellite’s programs and activities foster creativity, providing opportunities for peer support and strengthening skills in overcoming challenges while offering information to young people and families to help them make sense of what is happening.

Kookaburra Kids — Kookaburra Kids offers a range of programs including camps and activity days, specifically developed to support children aged 8-18 living in families affected by mental illness.

Emerging Minds and Children of a Parent with a Mental Illness (COPMI) — Focuses on promoting better outcomes for children and families where a parent experiences mental illness, COPMI has merged with Emerging Minds (the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health). Both sites provide a range of useful resources for children and young people with a parent with a mental illness.

Young carers and the law

Young carers are recognised in Victorian legislation in the Carers Recognition Act 2012 (the Act), the Mental Health Act 2014, as well as Federal legislation, the Carers Recognition Act 2010. The Act formally recognises and values the role of carers and the importance of care relationships in the Victorian community.

State government departments, local government authorities and funded organisations bound by the Act have to consider the principles in the Act and consider the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 when making laws, setting policies and providing services.

The Act is supported by the Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships. The Act and the Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships stipulate that carers should expect to:

  • be respected and recognised
    • as an individual with their own needs
    • as a carer
    • as someone with special knowledge of the person in their care
  • be supported as an individual and as a carer, including during changes to the care relationship
  • be recognised for their efforts and dedication as a carer and for the social and economic contribution to the community arising from their role as a carer
  • have their views and cultural identity taken into account, together with the views, cultural identity, needs and best interests of the person for whom they care, in matters relating to the care relationship - this includes when decisions are made that impact on the carer and the care relationship
  • have their social wellbeing and health recognised in matters relating to the care relationship
  • have the effects of being a carer be factored into decision making regarding their participation in employment and education

The Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships is available in full here: The Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 is available in full here: Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)

Relevant legislation

Department policy setting out requirements for schools and education providers to identify young carers and ensure they are supported

Reviewed 05 December 2021

Policy last updated

4 November 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Wellbeing, Health and Engagement Division Engaging Students At Risk Branch

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