Watch this space: An innovative approach to educating teachers about young carers

Program evaluation snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1220 – 1230

Presenters

Daniel Glaubert
Carers NSW

Zoi Triandafilidis
Carers NSW

Abstract
Young carers are children or young people under 25 who help to support a family member or friend with a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

Compared to their non-caring counterparts, young carers are less likely to complete year 12 and have post-secondary education. Recent research from the Australian Institute of Family Studies Growing Up in Australia report identified that young carers aged 14–15 have lower reading and numeracy scores that equated to being more than a year behind their non-caring peers.

Despite these findings, educational providers often fail to recognise young carers and adequately support their needs. For this reason, Carers NSW Young Carer Program embarked on a 12-month project, funded by Family and Community Services NSW Youth Opportunities, in which young carer leaders were engaged to co-facilitate educational workshops for teachers. Since the start of the project, 20 young carer leaders have received training in public speaking, leadership and confidence building, prior to the delivery of an interactive workshop to over 200 teachers and 1,500 school-aged students across New South Wales.

This interactive approach has seen young carers themselves leading the workshops and sharing their personal caring story in the hope of inspiring teachers to better identify and support young carers in the classroom. Overwhelmingly, positive results from teachers attending the training, coupled with our young carers’ increased leadership skills and confidence, has made a measurable difference to the lives of young carers in the education setting.