Discussion paper

Unfinished business: public policy and children in families with a person with a disability or mental illness

11 Dec 2013

Although there is growing awareness about the needs and difficulties faced by young carers, it isn’t always clear how policy directions should respond to these needs.

For example:

Should young carers be supported in their caring role or be prevented from becoming a ‘young carer’? Is it possible to achieve both aims?

Is the label of ‘young carer’ a helpful one on balance or can it get in the way of receiving support?

How can we advocate more effectively so that more families and the children within them receive the support they might need?

The paper discusses these bold questions and many others. Carers Victoria was helped by a series of interviews with experts from disability, mental health, drug and alcohol, and child welfare fields.

One of the key findings is that in order to respond more fully to the needs of young people and their families, shared policy goals across multiple sectors are needed to achieve the systemic improvements required.

The intention for this paper is to invigorate further debate and discussion about the possible policy directions for the sector to be heading.

This report was made possible with funding from the Helen McPherson Smith Trust.

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