[Sub ID 4878] Holistic Support (Drummond Street Services)

Submission ID: 4878
Organisation name: Drummond Street Services

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young carers

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Caring responsibilities can negatively impact health and well-being, putting young carers at-risk of mental illness which in turn creates long-term barriers for workforce participation. Early intervention mechanisms that holistically engage young carers, parents, schools and create wider support networks are effective in breaking the cycle of long-term/inter-generational welfare dependency.

Key workforce participation barriers for young carers include:
• Disrupted educational trajectories and experiences.
• High levels of stress to do homework/engage in extra curricula activities.
• Moving periodically into accommodation outside their neighbourhood resulting in periods of disrupted education that produce poorer educational outcomes and diminished future employment prospects.
• Placement within the child protection system (while parents are unwell), increasing exposure to risk factors.
• A lack of wider social supports, reducing social capital (knowledge/support to cease welfare dependency).
• A siloed adult mental health system that fails to address clients’ parenting responsibilities. Early identification of parents with support needs is essential in providing wider support opportunities for young carers and their families.
• Lack of knowledge and skills within education systems to effectively support young carers with flexible education plans and ongoing support.

What is your idea?
To design holistic support that increases parenting capacity, enhances local social supports and improves school attendance by addressing key failures within the current system.

1. To establish a school/family based support/mentoring program that maintains connections to school, peers and support structures. Building on evidence-based elements of the (Families &Schools Together) FAST program, effective in bringing schools and families together to improve educational and social outcomes for ‘at risk’ children.
2. To identify children of a parent with chronic mental illness early, before they experience sustained periods of disrupted education.
3. To provide recovery-orientated parenting support to parents with a mental illness. This strategy is effective in AOD treatment, confirming when a parent’s recovery is focused on parenting, both parents and children have improved outcomes.
4. To develop a family mentoring program (meeting child safety standards), forming a local, coordinated community/school care coalition. Community members (foster families/ grandparents/kin) would be recruited, trained and supported to provide respite and education support, resulting in a local, family support network, and giving young carers a safe, affirming space allowing school continuity when parents are unwell and/or hospitalised.
5. To offer social supports
6. To offer additional education/vocational/employment skills support to young at-risk carers.