“Know your rights” pack for young carers in England published

“Know your rights” pack for young carers in England published

The Know Your Rights pack produced by the Children’s Society and Young Carers in Focus (YCiF) aims to give young carers the information they need to know their rights.

The pack was launched at the 15th national Young Carers’ Festival organised in partnership with the YMCA Fairthorne Group in Hampshire (29th June 2014) with over 1700 young people in attendance.

The pack contains a collection of information for young carers to help make them aware of their legal rights and the rights they have to access, including “support and advice they need to help them take control of their lives”.

Attending the festival to help launch the pack, Children’s commissioner Margaret Atkinson wrote on her blog: “These are remarkable children and young people […] They deserve our support: for their right to a childhood, before we also give them our admiration for their abilities as carers. Too easily they lose the former by exercising the later.”

YCiF has created what it calls England’s “first ever safe social network for young carers”. The network encourages young carers to reach out to each other, get information and discuss what matters to them.

According to the Census data released May 2013, 166,363 children in England are caring for their parents, siblings and family members. This is up a fifth since the Census was last conducted in 2001.

Working alongside the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC), the Children’s Society have helped institute major law changes in recognition of the lives and work of young carers and are keen to promote the current Know Your Rights pack to encourage young carers to get the help and information they need.

In its report Hidden from view: The experiences of young carers in England, the Children’s Society highlighted the need for young carer support. The report found that young carers are more likely to suffer from a disability or illness as well as more likely to gain fewer qualifications.

“We call for support for these children, to make sure that they have the same opportunities as other children. We hope to bring about change by influencing policy makers to help prevent these children and young people from caring in the first place. […] One young carer remaining under the radar, out of sight of the very authorities there to support them, is one too many.”