In June 2020, Commissioner Helen Connolly, released a report examining what can be done at school to support children and young people with caring responsibilities at home. The report titled “Take Care” looks specifically at how young carers need the systems around them to commit to providing the kind of support that will enable them to live the lives to which they are entitled.

Young carers provide significant amounts of care to people in their lives. Yet they themselves need more support to be able to do so. Many emphasise their caring role is a positive experience but research indicates that the physical and mental strain caring responsibilities places on the health and wellbeing of young carers is immense.

“For the more than 14,800 young people in South Australia under the age of 18, who are required to take on caring roles, there needs to be a much better understanding of the support they need most, particularly in relation to achieving education outcomes” said Commissioner Connolly.

“Educators and teachers in particular are those who can provide the greatest level of support, yet many are not aware of which students in their classrooms are young carers. But knowing who these young carers are is also not enough.”

“We have a duty under the UNCRC to support young carers to achieve the outcomes we have set for them, so that they are healthy, safe, nurtured, inspired and engaged, actively able to participate in school and society like others their age.”

Recommendations for the kinds of support young carers need were made in consultation with young carers themselves. They include developing and implementing school based supports for students with significant caring roles, identifying a school young carer champion who provides a single contact point for young carers, and co-designing resources with young carers to support teachers and school leaders so they have a greater understanding of the challenges young carers face. The report has been distributed to educators, decision-makers and community leaders who can change policy and procedures to improve education outcomes for young carers across the State.

To download and read the Take Care report click here

To read the news article published in the Sunday Mail click here