Support for young carers

Young carers are children and young people aged up to 25 who care for a relative or friend.

Many young carers assume an adult level of responsibility and their caring role can interfere with their education and training, employment and social development.

Taking on a caring role at a young age can have a dramatic impact on a young person—as well as the person who accepts their care and others involved in their lives.

These organisations offer support to young carers:

  • Carers Queensland Young Carers Program is for young carers under 25 who provide care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail. They provide confidential telephone and face-to-face counselling, and worth with other services to enhance the recognition and awareness of young carers, their roles and needs.
  • Young Carers Project provides practical support for young people who are the main carer for a relative or friend with an ongoing health issue, disability, mental illness or alcohol or drug issue. Call your nearest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 200 422 for contact details for a YCP project worker in your area.
  • Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program helps young carers who need support to complete their secondary education or vocational equivalent. The program includes respite and information services. Further information about this service is available from the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre. Phone 1800 052 222 or after hours on 1800 059 059.
  • For information about support available to help you attend school, college or university, please speak with a guidance officer or counsellor at your school or tertiary institution. It is important you complete your schooling or studies.

If you care for your brother or sister

  • The Association for Children with a Disability provides resources to support siblings directly, and to assist parents in supporting siblings.
  • Livewire is a free, safe and supportive online community for young people aged over 10 and under 21 who have a brother or sister living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability. It's a place where you can meet other siblings, share experiences with people who understand your situation, and gain the skills and knowledge to help you feel more in control of your situation.
  • Raising Children Network has some great information on helping siblings of children with disabilities to cope and sibling feelings.
  • Siblings Australia Inc provides support for brothers and sisters of people with special needs including disability, chronic illness and mental health issues. The organisation provides print and web-based resources, workshops and networking opportunities. Phone (08) 8357 1216.

Some disability or community organisations may run, or know of, sibling support groups or online forums for brothers and sisters of children with a disability. You can also find a particular service provider or organisation by phoning the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Service on 1800 052 222 or by searching My Aged Care's online database.

You might also get help through concessions, specialist disability services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme for: home and vehicle modifications; guide, hearing and assistance dogs; and aids, equipment and assistance technology.

Personal stories

Read personal stories from young carers about their experiences with giving and receiving care:

  • Lachlan St Godard and his mum Margie talk about their close bond and overcoming challenges together
  • Jan Christison discusses the support she receives from her family and living with mental illness
  • Taylor Moon talks about caring for her mum, raising her brother and working towards her goals
  • Belinda Jennings talks about her friendship with her younger sister, Emma, who has autism
  • Shelley Heaton shares how having a disability doesn't hold her back, and supporting her daughter, Shona.

Mental health support