Queensland’s Young Carer representative announced
16 April 2015 – Carers Queensland is pleased today to announce the appointment of its new Young Carer Representative, 23 year old Candice Riley.
Candice, who lives in Redcliffe, Brisbane, has been caring for her mother, who is a quadriplegic, and her father, who suffers from mental illness, since early childhood.
“Candice has been appointed to the Australian National Young Carer Action Team (ANYCAT)” said Ms. Debra Cottrell, CEO of Carers Queensland. “ANYCAT is made up of young carer representatives from Carer Associations in every state and territory who catch up once a year in Canberra to provide advice and feedback on the Australian government’s National Young Carer Program.”
“The appointment is for two years,” continued Cottrell, “and during this time, Candice will also be helping us to promote our Young Carers Program and advocating on behalf of young carers in Queensland.”
Candice, who is a primary school teacher, still lives in the family home and is the sole breadwinner for her family. According to Candice, life as a young carer was tough, particularly at school, where she was singled out for having a parent with a physical disability. “I was bullied because mum was in a wheelchair,” she says. “If your family is different, you’re going to get judged. Kids just don’t understand, and the last thing you want to be as a teenager is different. We had no money, but I still wanted all the cool clothes. I used to be so worried about what people would say about me, so I never talked about what was going on at home. It wasn’t until I got to University that I stopped caring about what people say.”
With age comes wisdom, and it is this wisdom that Candice believe will stand her in good stead as Carers Queensland’s new Young Carer Representative. “I’m a lot more confident nowadays,” says Candice. “I’ve found my voice as a young carer and want to speak up for other young carers who are currently feeling like I used to, too shy or worried to say anything because of what other people might say.”