160,000 children in England caring for their parents, siblings and family members will benefit from a new era of support after a landmark change to the Children and Families Bill was debated and passed by the House of Lords yesterday (18 November 2013).
When the Bill becomes law in early 2014 young carers will have stronger rights to assessment and support. For too long, young carers have been slipping through the net between children’s and adults’ support services – hidden from view of the very authorities there to help them, according to the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC) of leading charities.
Now, when a child is identified as a young carer, the needs of everyone in the family will be considered. This will trigger both children’s and adults’ support services into action – assessing why a child is caring, what needs to change and what would help the family to prevent children from taking on this responsibility in the first place.
A staggering 166,363 children in England are caring for their parents, siblings and family members according to Census data released in May 2013. This is up by a fifth from when the last Census was conducted in 2001.
Dr Moira Fraser, Director of Policy and Research at Carers Trust and Chair of the National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC) commented: 'We are delighted to see that the government amendment to the Children and Families Bill has been passed thanks to the support from politicians from all the major political parties, as well as young carers and professionals across the country. The new law will make a huge difference to young carers and their families and NYCC would like to thank everyone who has been involved in our campaign. We will continue to work with the government and local authorities to work out the best ways to implement the changes.'
The National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC)* a partnership of charities and organisations led by The Children’s Society, Carers Trust and Barnardo’s, has been lobbying for this vital change in law since 2012, gaining cross-party support from politicians and professionals alike. It will now work with government to ensure that regulations and guidance under the Children and Families Bill and Care Bill are developed jointly and provide for a whole family approach to supporting young carers.
For media enquiries contact:
Lynsey Mellows, The Children’s Society: 0207 7841 4420 or 07841 080377
Notes for editors:
The Bill will not become law until it reaches Royal Assent – most likely in early 2014.
*The National Young Carers Coalition (NYCC) is a coalition of organisations concerned with young carers and their families, either through direct provision of services and support, advocacy or research. Members include Carers Trust (formerly The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care), The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, Family Action, Disabled Parents Network, Kids, Gloucestershire Young Carers, Young Carers International at the University of Nottingham, and Young Carers Research Group.