Young Carers’ Rights

Friday 25th November 2016 is Carers Rights Day.

The information below has been sent to us by the LA worker for Young Carers in relation to this:

Here are the rights of young carers:

The right to an assessment of need:

From April 2015 all young carers have been entitled to an assessment of their needs from the local authority and a transition assessment as they approach adulthood. Responsibilities for identifying and supporting young carers are placed on the local authority as a whole and are set out in the Children’s Act 1989 (including insertions made by the Children and Families Act 2014) and under the Care Act 2014. Section 96 of the Children and Families Act 2014 introduces new rights for young carers to improve how young carers and their families are identified and supported. This new provision works alongside measures in the Care Act 2014 for assessing adults to enable a “whole family approach” to providing assessment and support.

Basic rights

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) governments should do everything they can to make basic rights available to all young people (Article 4) and recognise that every child has the right to live a happy life and develop to the ‘maximum extent possible’ (Article 6).

Governments and services working with families, should respect the rights of families to direct and guide their children. However, services and professionals working with young carers should recognise they need guidance and space to be young people and to learn, play and enjoy positive futures (Article 5).

Young carers have the right to be consulted about everything that affects them and their families. If you are a young carer, your role is very important, and you have a right to be told about everything that affects your family before any decisions are made (Article 12).

Health Rights

Health is a very important theme running through all the human rights conventions. Everyone has the right to remain healthy and to receive medical assistance when they need it. Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), children have the right to healthcare. Article 24 states that countries should provide the best possible standard of healthcare.

Article 23 states that countries should give specific attention to children with a mental or physical disability, and that children with any kind of disability should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community. Governments must do all they can to provide support to disabled children. If you have a disability, or are caring for a child that has one, you are entitled to get any help you need. This should be at an appropriate cost, or free of charge whenever possible, taking into account the financial resources of the parents or others caring for the child. This article also states specifically that the family of the disabled child has to apply for this assistance.

The stress and tiredness that can be caused by spending so much time caring might lead to ill health. Both the European Convention on Human Rights (EHRC) and

European Social Charter state that under European law, everyone has the right to be free from the causes of poor health, to be educated about how to remain healthy, and to receive good quality healthcare.

Article 11 of the European Social Charter specifically protects your right to stay healthy, so governments should make sure that your caring role doesn’t affect your health.

Article 13 gives you the right to healthcare and support and get help to stop you being ill in the future.

Social security and social welfare

The European Social Charter has a number of articles that give everyone living in Europe the right to social security, social welfare and social services (Articles 12, 13, 14 and 16).

Under these articles, social security refers to your rights, amongst other things, to be protected against poverty or ‘social exclusion’, access to childcare and healthcare facilities, social housing, and legal protection under national and European laws.

Social welfare refers to your rights to receive benefits payments and guidance. You have the right to receive welfare payments to protect you if you lose your job (Jobseekers allowance) or if you need assistance to pay for housing (Housing benefit), benefits and legal protection to promote families (child tax credit and legal status of families), and a number of other benefits.

Social welfare also gives you the right to free education up to the age of 16 (or up to the age of 19 for those who wish to attend Sixth Form college), free guidance and advice services, and to have financial and healthcare provision in cases such as maternity, illness, industrial accidents, long term dependency or old age.

These rights are very important; they mean that everybody has the right to a means tested ‘safety net’, and that governments should promote the development and well-being of everyone. This protection is hugely relevant to young carers, as it provides protection for you and your whole family.

A full pack on the rights of young carers can be downloaded from the Children’s Society.