Do not be frightened to speak to a young person about the possibility of them being in a caring role. Some young people are proud of what they do and having a responsible adult to confide in can be a positive step for them. For those young carers who are struggling in their caring role, having someone speak to them allows them to know that they are not alone.
When speaking to a young carer ensure you highlight the positive attributes that you have noticed in them for example “I notice you are very helpful at home”
that “you are very loving and take good care of your little sister”, “ I can see in class that you are very organised and good at looking after others ”
Speaking to Parents
- Find the young person at a time when they are not surrounded by their peers
- Reassure them when you ask to speak to them that they are not in trouble
- If you are aware that the young person responds well to a particular member of staff, include them in the conversation.
- Find some common ground with the young person, ask open ended questions, and ask them what they enjoy at school, what they like to do on the weekends, what they do with their family at the weekends.
- Talk to them about what a young carer is. Ask the young person if they have ever heard of a young carer, or do they think they might be one.
- Reassure the young person that there are lots of young people in similar situations
- If you are aware that there is some illness or disability within the young person’s family ask sensitive questions about how their relative is keeping, do they help out at home
- Make sure the young person is aware that you want to make sure that they are coping and that you are available if they ever need to speak
- Make sure you tell the young person what your next steps are.
It can be a daunting prospect speaking to a family member about a suspected or already identified caring role in the home.
Let them know
- You wish to support their child
- That you are aware that there are some health issues in the family and you would like to find out the best way to support their young person
- That there are many young people carrying out caring and support roles and many have developed positive life skills whilst doing this.
- Ask if there are any areas that they feel their child might need extra support with.
- Make sure the family is aware of what support is available to them
- Reassure the family that they will be involved and supported as much as possible
"It’s hard to pay attention when you’re thinking about the person your caring for"