Barriers and experiences

There may be a range of barriers that are important to consider when working with BME family carers. Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) addressed some key issues in its report Are we there yet? Identifying the characteristics of social care organisations that successfully promote diversity.

Those issues include:

  • Lack of knowledge among black and minority ethnic communities about available support
  • Lack of appropriate services
  • Poor quality services
  • Lack of choice
  • Workers without effective communication skills
  • Workers without the skills and experience to work with racially and culturally diverse communities
  • Direct and institutional discrimination

The following issues were also highlighted at The Children’s Society’s National Carers Inclusion Project National Symposium, 7 September 2010:

  • Language barriers, lack of interpreters and drawing on children as translators
  • Lack of trust in part based on previous experience of services as not culturally aware or sensitive
  • Refugee and immigration status may increase stress and risk of depression
  • Not feeling they are entitled to assessment or services
  • Poor communication about services and their limited reach
  • Reliance on volunteers
  • Isolation
  • Schools may not be alert or aware of young carers issues and may not respect cultural values and expectations, including of dress, food and festivals
  • Cultural concepts of caring held by others may be based on assumptions and stereotyping: ’they look after their own’ (adults’ social worker); ’they’ll have a large extended family to help them out’ (children’s social worker)

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