[Sub ID 4810] Peer support mobile app (The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI))

Submission ID: 4810
Organisation name: The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
Contact name: Ms Kerry Jones
State: SA
Contact email: kerry.jones@tacsi.org.au

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?
20,700 Australians were carers aged under 25 (2015 ABS data) – a group identified as finding it particularly difficult to attain & retain long-term employment.

Challenges in balancing intensive & unpredictable caring responsibilities with personal needs cause the development of psychosocial barriers inhibiting the attainment of long-term employment, especially during key transition points in life.

Support to transition back & continue employment highlighted as key needs for carers within the DSS consultation report into the Service Concept for an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (September 2016).

This perspective is reflected in research & design projects we have undertaken with service providers within the contexts of carers & youth employment, & is supported by numerous peer-reviewed papers.

These projects also emphasise the value of designed peer-support in achieving positive outcomes, particularly in enabling increased prioritisation of personal needs & alleviating depression.

Therefore, there is a need for a holistic response to help young carers navigate the complexities they experience, towards assisting them thrive in all dimensions of life, & preventing the development of psychosocial barriers leading to long-term unemployment.

Such a response also needs to be agile & flexible enough to adapt to the individual circumstances of each carer.

What is your idea?
A service integrating a new kind of professional support-person with a peer-support program.

  • The integration of these components will support young carers to thrive & progress through developmental, educational & employment milestones, especially during key transition points (e.g., leaving school, increased independence & responsibility in young adulthood, moving out of home, etc) – early intervention in these areas will minimise the development of psychosocial barriers that prevent long-term employment.

The support-person will take an individual & holistic view of the young carer, considering how their caring experience affects other domains in life. Through multiple channels (e.g., face-to-face, phone, digital), their role will be to:

  • Provide advocacy, & emotional & psychological support (towards thriving & progression through human developmental, educational & employment milestones)
  • Enable better utilisation of existing supports & services
  • Engage them with flexible & focussed support from experienced carers (via the peer-support program)

The peer-support program would be primarily delivered through a mobile-app – allows carers to interact with it in their own time & as much as they feel comfortable.

The app would also act as one channel for the support-person & young-carer to communicate (although their interactions would not be confined to this).