Carers Rights Day: Do You Know Your Rights?

Did you know as young carers you have rights? Have you heard about the UN convention of The Rights of the Child? Did you know that article 12 says you have a right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously? 

On 25th November it is Carers Rights Day, a day to raise awareness of the rights of carers, both young and slightly older! As young carers you have rights at school, at home and in the community. 

At school you have the right to a Young Carers Needs Assessment to be carried out. A teacher usually does this. A Young Carers Needs Assessment looks at all of the support and help you need as a young carer; it could be to have a break from your caring responsibilities at home, it could be to do some work to help you understand the illness or disability of the person you care for better, or it could be for school to allow you some time out when things are difficult at home. In a Young Carers Needs Assessment you can also talk about how caring makes you feel too, and it might be decided that some support with your mental health and emotions will be helpful to you as a young carer. 

Young carers have a right to education, as does every young person, whether they are a carer or not. Caring does sometimes affect how you learn, and young carers have told the Carers’ Centre that you often worry about the person you care for when you are not there. Have you ever struggled to sleep at night because you were worried about what might happen at home the next day? Have you ever struggled to concentrate at school? Or even forgotten to do homework because you were busy at home caring? Many young carers will answer yes to these questions too. You are not alone, and juggling caring and school work can be tough. As a young carer, you have the right to reach your full potential at school, go to university if you want to and achieve that job you’ve always dreamed of. If your caring responsibilities start to affect your school work, it might help to have support at home, so you don’t have to do as much caring. Young carers shouldn’t be expected to do as much caring as adult carers, and it’s okay to tell someone you’re struggling. You might want to talk to a teacher at school, your family support worker or social worker if you have one or another member of staff at the Carers’ Centre.

Young Carers often enjoy having a break from the caring they do at home, and you all have a right to this. Many of you come to the Breaks and Activities or Social Action groups at the Carers’ Centre that offers you that break, and the opportunity to meet other young carers who will understand what it is like to be a young carer. You might care for different people in your life with different disabilities or health conditions but you all find reassurance that other young carers live in North Tyneside. Many of them will even go to your school. There are 1 in 5 young carers in the UK, which means there could be up to six young carers in every class of thirty. Quite striking when you think of it like that isn’t it? You really are not alone. 

We also know that young carers, despite all of the difficulties and extra support they may need, are creative, imaginative, determined and caring young people. You support each other and often work harder to achieve than many young people without a caring responsibility. You have found your way through a pandemic, caring for people at home, keeping up with home schooling, finding time for friends and taking part in Carers’ Centre online activities. You really are a remarkable bunch of young people, and here at the Carers’ Centre we are proud to work with you all.