Young carers rights an afterthought for the draft Bill

This week has been a prime example of the hide and seek game we have to play in policy work.  The draft Care and Young carer helping his brotherSupport Bill was published the week before last,  and as I mentioned last time, actually has lots of good stuff in there for carers generally. No money, of course, so what it means in practice is debatable ( rights without resources are not a great  load of use), but it was at least a start.

So, like many others in the sector, we said we liked the carers bits but if the Government could get on with sorting out the cash issue, that would be much better, thankyouverymuch.

But in between all of this, emails were flurrying around because, although we could see that rights for adult carers might be improved, it is clear that young carers will still be treated separately.  We were worried that they’d been missed out altogether and that all the rights for young carers that we’ve all fought for might disappear.

Over the course of the week, Emma our senior policy officer pored over the text of the draft Bill, working out clause by clause what we think it means. All of us involved with young carers’ work emailed  and phoned, sharing information, working out what is what. And then we got a helpful email saying how it’s going to work – the new Bill will only deal with adults, or young carers approaching adulthood. Young carers law will remain the same, which means that little will be actually lost,  but this means that procedures for young carers will be different from adult carers. This will just cause confusion, and there’s plenty of that already.   It means we will need to follow up  our work on this Bill with working for change to children’s law in the future to make sure law for young carers matches law for adult carers.  So another big job to add to the list.

A real concern is that we can’t just look at young carers in isolation. We need to make sure that when an adult community care assessment is carried out, then a young carer’s assessment can be triggered if there is a young person there who may be taking on a caring role.   We need to reduce inappropriate caring roles, ensuring that the needs of adults are being met and not forcing a young person into a caring role.  This means working in a preventative way, not  waiting  until a young person gets into difficulties and their life is being negatively affected, with the impact this can have on their education, and their life.

If we wait till someone comes forward for a young carers assessment, it is often too late. We need to get in there early and make sure young people get support early, working with their whole family. If we don’t link adult law and children’s law adequately,  and make sure they work well with each other we will end up with systems which  people  don’t understand, don’t work well together, and just assess young carers in situ, accepting their role  rather than taking all the opportunities we can to reduce inappropriate caring.

The draft Bill doesn’t intend to reduce rights for young carers, but we’re worried.  Young carers rights shouldn’t  been an afterthought to be sorted out after the main show is over.


July 25, 2012 - Posted by | Young carers |


  1. Morning
    I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction to lobby the government to make public toilets for people with disabilities fit for purpose Lets see some dignity for these PEOPLE of all ages.Also I would like to have an answer why disabled parking spaces very often have kerbs!! try getting a wheelchair and person onto pavement. I feel a lot of these so say facilities are lip service to people who have a hard enough life without more obstacles to get out and about lets put Britain in the 21st century and show Europe how we treat our most vulnerable members of society.

    Comment by jan churchill | November 1, 2012 | Reply

    • HI Jan
      I think Scope would be a good place to start as they work on all sorts of issues affecting disabled people and accessibility. Their website is here
      Hope they can help!

      Comment by Moira | November 2, 2012 | Reply

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