Marsia (15 years old) was referred to the Young Carers Service by her Social Worker. He indicated she would benefit from emotional support to enable her to work through her worries/ anxieties and having someone to talk to.
I first met with Marsia in December. I introduced myself and explained what the Young Carers Service offer is. Marsia was very open and honest about her experiences within the family and how that has made her feel. She shared that she was most scared when the family were at risk of being made homeless and spent two hours sitting outside the Council One Stop Shop. She recalled it was we waited in the rain waiting for someone to help us find emergency housing, due to fleeing Domestic Violence. Marsia started crying during the session as she spoke about the issues the family have faced historically but especially over the last six months during lockdown. She stated, “It has been really hard for me.”
Marsia was very grateful to have support for herself from the Young Carer’s Service and agreed to work with me in School, enabling her to have some time out for herself and focus on working through some areas that will improve her emotional wellbeing and build some resilience.
To measure Marsia’s journey through the Young Carers Service, the Multidimensional Assessment of Caring Activities (MACA), which captures the total amount of caring activities undertaken by a young person scored 0 – 36 was used on our initial meeting. This tool measures 6 different areas; domestic tasks, household management, personal care, emotional care, sibling care and financial/practical care. Marsia’s result was 14/36, which on the scale equates to a high amount of caring activities undertaken.
I used another assessment tool called The Positive and Negative Outcomes of Caring assessment (PANOC). The PANOC is split into two subscales: (1) Positive responses and (2) Negative response. The scores on both scales range from 0-20. Marsia’s first scores were; positive responses 18/20, meaning her score reflected relatively high positive outcomes reported and her Negative Outcomes reported were 4/20, indicating she has relatively low negative outcomes reported. The results of both the tools combined demonstrated that even though Marsia has a high level of caring responsibilities, she views her caring role through a positive lens of what she is learning as an induvial and her negative responses are very minimal.
Marsia’s high need of caring responsibilities initiated a My Star assessment to be completed, Marsia and I agreed to focus on her self-esteem and confidence. The support delivered has comprised of weekly one to one sessions in School for Marisa to focus on wellbeing and I organised BLGC Food Parcels to support the whole family, as they were struggling to make ends meet.
Marsia has engaged exceptionally well throughout the entire project and has evidently benefited from this intervention. Marsia has been pro-active with investing into her wellbeing following on from our sessions together. Marsia has grown in confidence, self-esteem and appreciation of herself. She has enormous positive praise to share with me about how the Young Carer’s Service work has really helped her and how much she has enjoyed the different sessions.
As part of Marsia’s emotional wellbeing, we took time to understand the impact of gratitude when we face difficult times. Marsia seemed to really enjoy this session, continuing to do her gratitude’s at home, ready to add into her jar on our next session. I supported Marsia to reflect on how much she has overcome, how many fantastic qualities she has that she may not even see herself by asking her to write a letter to her younger self, thanking her for everything she has done to allow present Marsia to be where she is now. Marsia also wrote a letter to her future self, looking forward to who Marsia wishes to grow into and what it will be like living in those times.
We discussed the importance of Marsia taking time to look after herself and I suggested the idea of a self soothe box. We brainstormed what items she would like to put inside the box and during another session we created and designed the box for her together, which has items inside that Marsia identified would help her to come back down to feeling calm from feeling stressed/frustrated/annoyed. Marsia was so pleased with the finished result, commenting “I am so happy to have something of my own. It’s really nice. When everyone is kicking off I will tell them, I am going to get my box so they can’t disturb me.”
Marsia shared with me that her siblings have started going to Mosque so she now gets one hour 30 minutes to herself each weekday Monday – Friday, which she is loving and even treated herself to a face mask to enjoy her own down time without responsibilities. Marsia has flourished during our time together and her improved confidence is clear to see. Marsia independently asked me about volunteering opportunities within the Youth Club Provision, therefore I have collected a Young Leader’s application form for her to complete and submit. Marsia is hoping to be able to build up her experiences working with children as she aspires to become a Social Worker, helping children like herself.
This Young Person has given her permission for her name to be kept in and her information shared