[Sub ID 4873] Young Carer Education Ally (YCEA) (Carer Support)

Submission ID: 4873
Organisation name: Carer Support
State: SA

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
To treat the cause, not the symptom.

The Raw Energy Program has been supporting Young Carers (YCs) for the past 20 years and has recognised that there is a gap in the school system for YCs. Our idea would empower YCs to stay in school, enable them to achieve their academic milestones and reach their full potential, as well as provide them support with tertiary education, training and career opportunities. It would also lessen the pressure on families to solely fulfil this educational support role (which many families, especially those from single-parent, multiple care recipient and underprivileged households struggle with).

Statistics show that we can expect to find 2 to 3 YCs in every classroom across SA. Some of the behaviours associated with YCs who have significant caring responsibility include: absenteeism, lateness to school, difficulty concentrating, & an inability to be involved in extra-curricular activities. The cumulative effect of these things being unrecognised and unacknowledged, can lead to missed opportunities and unrealised potential.

An example of a teacher not understanding the impact on YCs was highlighted in a recent Report Card written for an 11yo girl: She was told that she had a ‘defeatist attitude’ and to make ‘positive choices about her attendance’. This YC cares for her brother, who has severe & multiple disabilities, in a single-parent household

What is your idea?
A proposed new position, A ‘Young Carer Education Ally’ (YCEA).

This would be a dedicated role that forms part of the YC Program within SA. It would remain regionally-based and the Ally would work directly with schools as required. The essence of this partnership would be between the YCs, the YC Program, their family and their school. Referrals would be submitted to the YC Program from any service, and support can be initiated by any party/person.

During registration into the YC Program, the information and contact for the YCEA would be passed onto the YC and their family. An initial Advocacy and Introduction Letter would be sent to the YCs current School Principal, Counsellor and Teacher.

The role would include 1:1 support, job readiness, CV Development, interview preparation, transport training, supporting communication, overcoming resistant behaviours & barriers, advocacy, establishing peer support within each school, arranging tutoring, transport training, assisting with gaining work experience, and strengthening relationships between YCs, teachers and counsellors.

The YCEA would also visit schools with the intention of raising awareness about YCs and enabling teachers and school staff to recognise and refer ‘hidden’ YCs. This initiative would provide teachers with education and encourage the acknowledgement of YCs now and looking forward.

The ultimate goal of the YCEA is to build resilience, empowerment and self-belief amongst YCs who are at risk of long-term unemployment. We believe that activation of this role within the school system will provide the opportunity for YCs to improve their workforce participation or capacity to work into the future.

It is worth noting that this type of program can be tailored to, and positively influence, any young student facing barriers to education and employment – including financial, cultural, physical and other disadvantages.