Q: Do I need parent consent before I refer a possible young carer to Carers WA?
A: Yes! Any person under the age of 18 needs parent/legal guardian consent to be registered with us. We strive to help the young person in the context of strengthening their family relationships so we want the family to be fully informed and involved too.
Q: What if the parent is resistant to having their child engage with Carers WA services?
A: Unfortunately this may be a common problem - especially in families where there is a mental health issue or drug/alcohol problem and/or the young person is caring for a parent. The best thing you can do is provide basic information about Carers WA and emphasise that we are a not-for-profit organisation (not a government department!) who exist solely to SUPPORT families and the young person in question - not to "judge" their parenting skills. We want to provide help in the best interest of the young person. On a school level, using your relationship with the student and their family will be the best way of dissolving that resistance. It may take some time, but in the end, all we want is to be able to help the young person - time is irrelevant!
Q: What if the young person who I suspect is in a caring role has a parent with a drug/alcohol addiction?
A: If the parent is still in the addiction phase and you suspect that the young person is in an unsafe situation at home, then this needs to be handled on a school level first (in accordance with Child Protection regulations) BEFORE we enter the picture. The reason for this is that the parent might be very resistant to their child being seen as a "carer" for them and this (and many other factors) may cause problems within the family. If the parent is recovering and in the rehabilitation stage then this is the optimum time for an organisation like Carers WA to step in to support the young person and their family.
Q: What is the best way to approach a student who we suspect is in a caring role?
A: This is entirely up to you! Your expertise and experience in relating to your students is going to be the most valuable thing here. The relationship that you have built with your students is the single most important factor in identifying young carers within the school - if they trust a particular teacher more so than others, then use that relationship to get them to consider accepting help from organisations such as Carers WA. The student services/pastoral care teams in schools can be a great point of contact for further referral to support organisations!
Q: What can the school do to help young carers?
A: Click on the link "Information for Schools" on the Young Carers WA website http://www.youngcarerswa.asn.au then click on "Resources" for more suggestions on how to help young carers!
Q: What if the young person has extra responsibilities in a single parent household but NO ONE in their household has a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or drug or alcohol problem?
A: Unfortunately in this case, the young person does not fall into our definition of a ‘young carer' and is not eligible for our particular services. However, if you are unsure then contact Carers WA anyway and we can help you link the young person with other services not necessarily specific to family carers such as counselling, family support, financial aid etc.
Q: Does there have to be ‘proof' of disability, medical condition or mental illness of care recipient before the young carer can access Carers WA services?
A: No! Not only that, but the extent (or duration) of the illness, chronic condition or disability is not a determining factor in whether the young carer can access our services. All we need to know is the basics of the care recipient's condition so that we can tailor the information and support we (and other organisations) provide!
More questions? Contact the Young Carer Team.
Ph: 1300 227 377
E-mail: [email protected]