- As a child, The UNCRC gives you rights to make sure that you are properly looked after at home
- Your parents – or someone else responsible - should make sure home is a safe place, somewhere you can grow and develop
- Your rights are there to help when things go wrong for some reason
Just because you are under 18 doesn’t mean you don’t have rights. The Welsh Government recognises that every child and young person living in Wales has human rights which are specifically related to you being under the age of 18. These rights are part of Welsh law. You have these rights so that you don’t have to worry about who you live with and who cares for you. Even if things have gone wrong at home for some reason, your rights mean that you should be protected and looked after properly, and that anything that happens to you, if you have to be taken away from your parents, will be what is best for you.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that are specific to you as a child. It gives you the right to be brought up by your parents, and not to be separated from them unless there’s a good reason for this. You have the right to be protected from harm too, so if your parents, or someone else living at home, is hurting you or not looking after you properly, your rights are there. The UNCRC states that any decision that is taken that affects you has to be ‘in your best interests’, and take into account your views about what should happen.
Home should be a place of safety for every child and young person. Because ‘home’ with your parents should be the best place for any child or young person to grow up, your parents have the main responsibility for looking after you and helping you to grow up and develop. Many of the rights that you have as a child or young person in Wales are designed to make sure you live with your parents and are properly looked after by them.
Sometimes, things go wrong, and there are organisations and people in Wales who are there to protect children. These organisations will get involved if necessary, to make sure you are protected from harm and looked after properly. Some of the organisations and people who may do this include social services and the local authority where you live, the police, courts and judges.
If other adults and organisations need to be involved – perhaps someone you live with is hurting you or perhaps you have had to leave your home for other reasons - your rights are designed to make sure that those other adults and organisations protect you and do the best for you..
If you need help right now, you should call 999 or speak to an adult you can trust – perhaps a teacher or another family member.
An important part of having ‘rights’ is knowing how to use them. Your family – your parents and other relatives you are close to and members of your community, foster carers or guardians should help you understand your rights and how they can protect you as you grow up. At home, your rights are mostly there to protect you and your family. They are there to make sure you can grow and develop safely with your parents. Providing that this is happening, you shouldn’t need to use your rights.
This section of the website looks at lots of aspects of your life at home, including
- Decision and Rules at home
- What happens if you’re not being properly looked after at home
- If you are caring for someone at home
- If you have extra needs for care and support
- What you can do if there is a problem where you live
- Your rights if you are away from home
- How you can be involved if your parents don’t live together any more
- What you can do if you don’t want to live at home
We are very grateful to Irwin Mitchell Solicitors for generously giving their time and expertise to check the content of this section of the website. October 2018.