Supporting good social work practice with carers and their families

06 June 2016

Image: Supporting good social work practice with carers and their familiesResearch in Practice (RiP) and Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) have launched new resources for Carers Week 2016 to support professionals across Children’s and Adults’ Services who are working with both young and adult carers.

The new RiP and RiPfA Practice Tool Young Carers and their families: Confident assessment practice identifies common concerns and challenges for young carers and their families, and what practitioners need to be aware of, as well as recommending strategies to help build positive relationships:

‘To build relationships with these young people we also need to understand their transition through this stage of their development – seeing the young person as a young person and not just a young carer.’

The tool highlights evidence suggesting that where needs are not met, young people miss out on education and training opportunities and their transitions to adulthood are much more difficult.

It also stresses the importance of recognising that not all young people and families may be able to identify with the term ‘carer’ or ‘young carer’. They may not realise they are in a caring role, may think it is just their responsibility, or may not want to be labelled as a carer.

This theme is also addressed by the new Social work practice with carers website, commissioned by the Department of Health and developed by RiPfA in partnership with carers along with support from Carers UK and the Carers Trust.

The website provides open access case studies, films, guidance and tools to enhance understanding of the issues facing carers and to use in direct work. These resources are freely available to anyone working in the sector.

RiPfA will be running an open access online webinar to introduce and discuss the resources on 7 June from 12-1pm. Book a place.

There are 6.5 million carers in the UK looking after someone who is older, disabled or unwell, and there is an increasing focus on how to provide support for this unpaid workforce. With the Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014 (section 96) placing new expectations on children’s and adult social care to identify young carers and assess their needs, these resources are a significant contribution to help practitioners meet these requirements.

Related resources:

Access the Practice Tool

Access the Social work practice with carers website (open access)

Sign up for the Social work practice with carers introductory webinar (open access)

Carers’ stories

MaggieImage: Maggie Sanderson

‘You can’t imagine what it’s like to be a carer until you experience it, in the same way that you don’t really understand what it’s like being a parent until you have children.’

 ‘I think that the reason many people fail to realise that they’re a carer is because it’s such a creeping process.’

AllyImage: Ally Khodabocus

‘Having a child with downs syndrome isn’t something you expect. It gets thrown at you. You don’t get a booklet telling you how it works. It’s a learning curve that you go through.’

‘At the start I didn’t consider myself a carer. I didn’t even question it. I was a parent doing my job, doing what you are supposed to do. You have a child and it is your responsibility.’


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