Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Tammy Gilligan

Joseph LeBlanc


The present study aimed to identify the level of knowledge, awareness, experience, and perceptions school support staff (school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses) have of youth caregivers. In addition, this study investigated school support staff’s confidence in their ability to identify and support this population specifically in Virginia schools. The focus group consisted of 4 school support staff participants which included two school nurses, one school counselor, and one school psychologist. The participants were asked a list of questions pertaining to the youth caregiver population during the 42-minute focus group meeting over Zoom. The focus group participants had very little knowledge and awareness regarding the youth caregiver population. Many of the experiences school support staff had regarding youth caregivers heavily involved students with chronic absenteeism due to working to support their family or staying at home to look after their siblings. Participants observed the negative impact youth caregiving has on students’ education and wellbeing. In addition, participants did not feel confident in their ability to identify and support the youth caregiver population specifically. Due to the lack of identification tools and supports within the schools, the participants did not feel equipped to assist with this population. Further research may include the impact of presenting information regarding the youth caregiving population to staff and students, implementing youth caregiving assessment tools within the school buildings, and creating supports within the school system.



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