CarersBlog

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2013: a year of ups and downs for carers

It’s been quite a year for carers. Ups as well as downs. In the Carers Trust  policy team we’ve been running from one thing to the next, trying to make sure that we cover as much as we can in this ever changing political environment.

This has meant working with other charities and partners as much as possible so that between us, carers’ views are heard and we can achieve the most change we can. Many thanks to all our friends and colleagues in the Carers Trust Network across the UK, The Care and Support Alliance, the National Young Carers Coalitions and local  and  national government, politicians, researchers, and other friends. A special big thanks to Carers UK, the Childrens Society and Barnardos for their partnership and support this year. Together we all achieve more than we ever could on our own. Continue reading

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December 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

The start of a better future for young carers

You might not have noticed it as it came and went, but yesterday, Monday the 18 November 2013, was a historic day for young carers in England.

As you might have seen in a previous blog, the work we have been doing to ensure young carers have their rights recognised in law has finally paid off. Following the statement from the Secretary of State, the Government put forward an amendment to the Children and Families Bill that will mean young carers , on the appearance of need, will have a right to assessment and to having their needs met. This is an enormous step forward. The amendment was debated last week, and technically, it passed on Monday. The law, we expect, will be passed in full in the New Year, and will come into force in 2015. For the first time, in law, young carers will be recognised. Continue reading

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Young carers | , , , | 2 Comments

Young carers firmly on Children and Families Bill agenda

Young carer at window

After 6 months of working  behind the scenes putting together the evidence, the Children and Families Bill finally hit the House of Commons recently, in the form of the second reading debate.

Emma, our Senior Policy and Parliamentary Officer, has been working her socks off getting briefings written and circulated to MPs to let them know what they need to do to make a significant change for young carers.

The odd thing is that usually when you write a briefing, you’re writing about what’s in a Bill—not what’s absent. And that’s the thing: the Bill is absolutely silent on young carers. Unless some amendments are added in, we’re going to end up in a situation where adult carers’ rights are improved (a good thing, of course) but young carers’ rights are left behind. This is untenable.

Work of National Young Carers Coalition pays off

We have spent months meeting with officials and the Minister, and with our partners in the National Young Carers Coalition (which includes Barnardos, Family Action, Action for Children, and The Children’s Society), and I like to think we are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

We’ve had positive words of support. The Scrutiny Committee of the Care and Support Bill, in a recent session, made it very clear that they think we’ve got a very good point.

Still, it wasn’t guaranteed we’d get a good hearing. There were lots of important issues debated today – adoption and fostering, special educational needs, family justice – all things that need their air time. But it was fantastic to listen to the debate and hear the support for young carers.

Encouraging words of support from MPs

Barbara Keeley MP, a real champion for carers, managed to make a point during the Minister Ed Timpson’s speech, which resulted in him acknowledging the importance of the issue and saying that he would “continue to listen” to us.

This may not sound like much, but in parliamentary language it means there’s at least a chance we might get somewhere with this. And responding to the Minister’s speech, Stephen Twigg MP laid out that we can’t have a position where young carers have lesser rights than their adult counterparts.

Many other MPs spoke. Some had more time to spend on this issue than others, but we’re grateful to all who showed their support. The next step is Committee stage where we’ll need to push the amendments we need – and we will need strong parliamentary pressure, so if you care about this, write to your MP.

There’s a long way to go yet and today was only the beginning. But it was definitely a good start.

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Young carers | , , , | 6 Comments