Family Action first met Jamal when he was nine years old and his school were concerned with his behaviour. His family had recently moved to London having fled a civil war. His English was limited and he was visibly tired and stressed a lot of the time.
We found out that Jamal has a caring roles – he looks after his two younger sisters (three and seven) who both have severe Global Delay Development. They are not yet able to walk or talk. Jamal helps to feed and dress them and is often responsible for supervising them to make sure they stay safe.
All five members of the family sleep in one room and with his sisters waking regularly and crying loudly, Jamal rarely has a good nights sleep. He is too tired to focus at school and with English as a second language, he struggles to keep up.
Family Action invited Jamal to one of our young carers groups to get respite from his caring responsibilities at home and meet other young carers like him. He engaged really well with the group, making a few good friends.
We also provided the family with a Support Worker, Dan. Dan provided valuable one-to-one support to Jamal, helping him to talk about concerns and problems he was struggling with. Dan also visited the family at home, to support them in trying to find more suitable housing. We fought to make their case a priority with the housing office, trying to ensure a long term change to the sleepless nights affecting Jamal so badly.
Whilst Jamal’s caring role for his siblings won’t decrease, the one-to-one support and activities he has accessed has improved his feelings towards the role he plays within his family. He’s less stressed, visibly happier, and copes much better when he’s faced with a problem.