with great thanks to Gemma Powell for this guest post. To learn more about GIRFEC you can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting it Right for Young Carers
Caring for a relative or close family friend can be a rewarding and joyful experience for many of those who do so but it can also carry a great deal of added responsibility and difficulty. Young Carers may be denied certain rights of the UNCRC such as the right to spend time with friends (Article 15), to be protected from discrimination (Article 2) and the right to education (Article 28 and 29).
Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) is a new way of working in Scotland, underpinned by the UNCRC, for all professionals who work with children and young people and this includes young carers. The Children and Young People Scotland Act (2014) introduces the Named Person Service which allocates a Named Person to every child in Scotland from birth to 18 (with a few exceptions). This named person is known to the child and family and is there to support them as and when required. This service gives a point of contact for anyone who has any concerns about a child’s wellbeing – including the child and family.
The Act also places a rounded definition of wellbeing into legislation which encompasses all aspects of a child’s wellbeing using 8 indicators (Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Responsible, Respected and Included). For young carers whose wellbeing may be comprised by their caring role, it will be beneficial to have someone they can go to, to have their overall wellbeing assessed and the right help put in in place to support their wellbeing while enabling them to enjoy their time with their relative.
The Getting to Know GIRFEC Project has been running seminars all over Scotland to inform children and young people, parents and carers about GIRFEC and what it means to them. By giving them an understanding of GIRFEC it places young people and families on an equal footing to be able to participate in meetings and decisions around the child or young peerson. There are numerous resources available on the project website which have been designed to explain GIRFEC in a variety of ways including plain English booklets, videos, easy-read documents and easy to use activities to improve understanding.
The aim of GIRFEC is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up. To achieve this collaboration is key between everyone involved in children’s lives – parents, the wider family, the child, the school, healthcare providers, the police or any other statutory bodies or third sector organisations. We need to work together. Only then can we ensure we are doing the best for the child in question in as many aspects of their wellbeing as we can, as early as we can. Communication between organisations and individuals, and their commitment to make this work will be key to the success of GIRFEC. And it really is something worth making a success of.