Each day, millions of children and youth under age 18 provide care to a sibling, parent or grandparent because of mental/physical health or substance abuse issues (Hamill, 2012 ; Hunt et al, 2005; Kavanaugh, 2014; National Center for Education Statistics, 2018; Stamatopolous, 2018). Despite their prevalence, most of these young people are hidden from view, silently working to provide the care that their loved ones need with little or no education, training or support from the outside world (Kavanaugh et al, 2019).
After examining some of the readings, concerning ages of child caregivers, and the roles these caregivers often take, consider why these caregivers are often hidden and how we might better identify and support them. How might the task of identifying caregivers differ depending on who they are giving care for and on the nature of the illness causing a need for care. Choose a particular type of caregiving that a child might do. Looking at the aspects of resilience that we’ve outlined in class thus far… what might we do to support children who are giving care for someone in these circumstances?