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Carers UK celebrates new rights for parent carers

05 February 2014

Carers UK is celebrating securing historic new rights for parents of disabled children as Peers agree a last minute amendment to the Children and Families Bill to include them in new legislative rights for carers.

The charity has been campaigning for parents caring for disabled children to be included in new rights which will make it easier for carers to be assessed and supported. As new care legislation completes its final stages in Parliament, the charity has secured Government support for a change which marks a real victory for parent carers.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy, Carers UK, said:

“The Government’s decision to introduce this change is an historic moment for the rights of parent carers. Caring for a disabled child can take a huge toll on parents’ health and wellbeing. Because of these proposed changes, local authorities will now have a duty to consider the wellbeing of parent carers when they look at the needs of families with disabled children.

For a long time it looked like parent carers would be left behind with lesser rights to assessment and support so we are delighted that the Government has listened and is taking the opportunity to recognise the huge impact that caring for a disabled child can have.”

Government's proposed new legal rights for carers threatened to leave behind parent carers, focusing instead on those supporting adult loved ones. But after months of determined campaigning, the charity has won an amendment to the Children and Families Bill. New rights will mean:

  • Where it appears they have needs, local authorities must now assess the impact of caring on parents of disabled children. At the moment parent carers have to request an assessment and show they are providing ‘regular and substantial’ care in order to receive one.
  • Local authorities must now have regard to the wellbeing of parent carers when assessing their needs.
  • Existing law on parent carers from three different Acts will be brought together making the law much clearer for parents and local authorities to understand and use.

Welcoming the amendment, Edward Timpson MP, Minister for Children and Families, said:

“Being the parent of a disabled child brings with it unique challenges, and we must not underestimate the contribution that parent-carers of disabled children make. I am delighted that, together with our wide ranging reforms to the Special Educational Needs system, we have been able to clarify and strengthen the rights of these families in law and make it clear that councils must take into account the full and complex needs of parent carers.”

Baroness Pitkeathley, who led debates in the House of Lords on the issue, said:

“I’m delighted that such an important amendment has been brought forward by the Government which will give parents of disabled children the same rights to assessments as other carers. This will send a strong message to parents that their well-being really matters – which has been clearly highlighted by Carers UK in their campaign to secure equal rights for parents of disabled children – which has been firmly supported by parents themselves.”

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