15 Jun 2015

Call for better support for young carers

From Nine To Noon, 9:07 am on 15 June 2015
Lauren Donnan.

Lauren Donnan. Photo: Supplied.

Calls for better support for the tens of thousands of young people caring for disabled, addicted or elderly family members.

An Auckland university researcher says census figures show there are 40 thousand 18 to 24 year olds who identify as carers, but the real number is likely to be much higher, as carers can be much younger.

She says young carers have no representation in government policy, and no particular support.

Lauren Donnon was a young carer herself, looking after her autistic brother while her father went to work as an international flight attendant.

As part of her doctoral research she's interviewed a range of young carers, and says they tell a universal story - of isolation, many with poor mental health through carrying the weight of huge responsibility on young shoulders.

She's been commissioned by the Social Development Ministry to write a paper on the issue, and hopes to secure funding for a survey to properly quantify the problem.

See more on this story on The Wireless