On the occasion of yesterday’s 3rd National Day of Action for Caring Children and Young People, the Ministry of Social Affairs once again drew attention to the often underestimated issue. Together with the Austrian University of Applied Sciences/Campus Hagenberg, an app was developed that clearly provides young nurses with important information and offers a platform for exchange. A newly developed chatbot (text-based dialogue system, note) has recently been helping to search for information even more specifically.
Actually, it is the parents’ job to take care of their children. However, for around 43,000 Austrians under the age of 18, the roles are reversed. The so-called young carers have to take on a lot of responsibility in the family at an early age. They care for their parents with chronic illnesses or disabilities, look after their siblings or look after their grandparents. They also have to carry out the majority of everyday tasks such as shopping and preparing food. According to studies, young carers are on average only 12.5 years old, and over two thirds of them are girls.
“We have to support them”
Although caring children overcome great challenges, their achievements are hardly noticed by society. Studies have shown that those affected often do not see themselves as carers because “sticking together” and “helping” in the family is perceived as a matter of course. For this reason, it is difficult to reach them with offers of help. “Society, all of us, are called upon to provide information about the situation and everyday life of young carers and to actively support them,” says Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) in a broadcast.
The “Young Carers Austria” app, like the website of the same name, now offers a wealth of information. “We involved the young carers in the development of the app right from the start. We wanted to create a virtual space in which those affected feel like they are in good hands,” says project manager Marc Kurz, Professor of Mobile Software Systems at the Hagenberg University of Applied Sciences. In addition to the most important emergency numbers, there are many tips for everyday care in the app. The numerous reports from other children and young people who care for children also show those affected that they are not alone in their situation. The app is available to download free of charge.
More information at: young-carers-austria.at
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