By Shirin Gerami, Design Research Team Lead (Family Care Office)
The Family Care research project is born out of a partnership between the Innovation Hub and the Family Care Office at the University of Toronto. The overall aim of this project is to answer the question “what are the experiences of students with family responsibilities, and particularly student parents, at the University of Toronto?”
Over the course of a six-month study, our research team has set out to conduct around 30 semi-structured interviews with students who have family care responsibilities, as well as Family Care Office staff; these will help identify the challenges and barriers students with family responsibilities face. The findings will also provide a more robust understanding of student caregivers across the three University of Toronto campuses and illuminate possible solutions and opportunities for addressing their unique experience.
We are currently in the data collection phase of this research project, focusing on recruiting participants and conducting interviews with a wide array of student caregivers. While data collection is still underway, a few key issues that have already surface in our interviews are child care, financial strains, and integrating family responsibilities with school work. A current challenge has been to connect to students with family responsibilities, given that these students do not have a lot of spare time between their studies and caregiving. Despite this, this project is still coming along nicely! Our team is very excited about the opportunity of gaining insight that will allow the Family Care Office to assist and advocate for better services for this population of students.
For more information about the Family Care office please visit http://familycare.utoronto.ca/