You can play an important role in the lives of young carers as a supportive, stable and caring adult. There are many issues that can come up at school that you can help address. Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Every school has young carers. Find out who they are and invest some extra time in them. Get to know their name and story, make time for them, and be encouraging. A little positive attention and understanding can go a long way.
- Educate other staff on the young carer experience to help raise awareness about the ways it can impact their lives both inside and outside of school.
- Explore who the young carer would like to have as their go-to people at school and how to access them.
- Do the best you can not to judge young carers based on your knowledge of, or interactions with, their siblings, parents, or other family members. For example, their sibling might have a disability or mental health issue that causes them to act out in class, but that doesn’t mean that the young carer will as well.
- Be understanding and take steps to make your classroom or office as safe as possible for young carers. School may be the only place that young carers have time away from home or a predictable routine and you may be the only adult they have outside their family that they can trust and open up to.
- Make time in your schedule to consistently check in with the young carer.
- Be flexible and accommodate their needs when you can:
- Set aside time outside of class to help them with homework.
- Provide extensions if they’ve been dealing with an emergency.
- Be understanding when they miss school to help their family.
- Explore how they can stay connected with their family during school hours when needed.
- Don’t underestimate the impact you’re having as a caring adult.
- Share this information with your colleagues, other community members, and young carers.