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Empowering Professionals to support Young Carers
Start date: Aug 1, 2016, End date: Jul 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project targets youth workers in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland who work with young carers directly or indirectly.Young carers can be defined as young people who provide assistance or support to another family member. They carry out, often on a regular basis, significant or substantial caring tasks and assume a level of responsibility which would not usually be associated with their age group. The person receiving care is often a parent but can be a sibling, grandparent or other relative who is disabled, has some chronic illness, mental health problem or other condition connected with a need for care, support or supervision.Although research has provided clear evidence that heavy caring responsibilities can result in emotional difficulties, health problems, social exclusion, and limited opportunities for social and leisure activities, professional support services are lacking in many EU countries. This is largely due to the fact that the youth work, educational and social services sectors are not aware of this group. However, it can be seen from the UK experience that young carers are a large and important group that youth services need to address.The main result expected after completion of the project is that each of the six partner organizations and several hundred other interested stakeholders will have access to a set of tools and interventions, together with the skills and capacities to use them, to support young carers. Such tools will include questionnaires, motivational interviews, checklists, services navigators, etc. In addition, the creation of practical support services will be promoted through practical guidelines based on a model support project established by each partner in their region.The tools are intended to allow identification of young carers; to allow practitioners to assess the situation of young carers, including measuring the level and impact of the care burden; and to allow practitioners to develop an action plan to address issues adversely affecting young carers. The tools will be adapted when already existing in a partner country, or existing for different target groups, or developed ex novo, and pilot-tested. In the course of the project, intermediate expected results include increased capacity of organizations to identify young carers; increased knowledge of promising or successful experiences and practices from other European countries; and increased awareness of the challenges faced by young carers in the different local contexts involved directly or indirectly in project activities. The eventual desired outcome is increased youth work expertise in this field and stakeholers in youth work having the knowledge to develop support services for young carers and cooperate with relevant sectors in education, social services and caregiver support.
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