[Sub ID 4775] Merri Health Young Carer Program (Merri Health)

Submission ID: 4775
Organisation name: Merri Health

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Based on delivering a Young Carer service in northern metro Melbourne, Merri Health has observed the difficulties young people experience in developing their capacity to work. Additionally, this region experiences high levels of unemployment, promoting welfare dependency.

Maximizing workforce participation requires better pathways to employment and more support for young people to transition from secondary school into further education, training or employment. Engaging young carers earlier in services, increases young carers’ opportunities to improve their school attendance and therefore participate in activities to develop their employment opportunities.

There is a lack of awareness in the broader community about young carers, their needs and the barriers they face in accessing services and remaining in school. Early identification of young carers can therefore be difficult, resulting in young carers not receiving appropriate supports when they need them. This can lead to young carers disengaging from their education, resulting in less workforce participation opportunities. Young Carers are also less likely to self-refer or be referred to services to support them in their caring role limiting their workforce participation options.

The potential consequence, is increased dependency on welfare by young people, who have limited options to support their daily living.

What is your idea?
In order to improve workforce readiness of young carers, Merri Health proposes to:

1. Develop and deliver a series of targeted information and education sessions to raise awareness about young carers, the barriers they face, and what support is available. This would build the capacity of young people to self-identify and self-refer for services. This would also build the capacity of schools and communities to identify young carers and refer them for services. The proposed target audiences include:

  • Young people
  • Schools and the school community
  • Local communities (e.g. ethnic groups, religious groups, local clubs etc.)
  • Workplaces

2. Establish, promote and embed stronger referral pathways and strategies within schools and communities to support young carers, in order to link them with services.

3. Establish partnerships with employers, to provide pathways to employment specifically for young carers. This would involve:

  • Undertaking one on one assessments with young people
  • Facilitating interactive group education sessions focussing on young carers’ independent living skills and their understanding and expectations of workplaces to enable them to participate in the workforce
  • Placing them with available internships and workplace opportunities and supporting them to remain engaged in their work placement