Young carers

Young carers

Diana Warren and Ben Edwards

LSAC ASR 2016 chapter— August 2017
rear view of young woman and adult in wheelchair

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Key findings

  • Almost 40% of LSAC 14-15 year olds spent some time caring for a person in their family or community who is elderly or has a health condition or disability.
  • At least one in ten 14-15 year-olds were caring for a household member, with around two-thirds of this group providing assistance with core activities including personal care, mobility and communication. 
  • The majority of 14-15 year olds who spent time providing care were helping someone who lived outside the family home. This help commonly involved assisting a classmate or helping out with chores when they visit their grandparents. 
  • While many of those providing care to someone living elsewhere did so on a weekly or monthly basis, more than half of those caring for a resident family member were providing daily care, with 22% spending more than two hours per day on these care activities. 

What effects are caring responsibilities having on these young people?

  • On average, young carers have lower performance levels in reading and numeracy than their non-caring peers.
  • The young carers most affected were those giving intensive care - those who provided daily care, particularly those who spent at least two hours per day, were more than a year behind their classmates in reading and numeracy.
  • Young carers are more likely to live in disadvantaged households.
  • Their lower educational attainment could have long-term effects on their future employment opportunities and life chances.

Publication details

LSAC ASR 2016 chapter
Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, August 2017.

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