Understanding Children and Young People's Rights

There is a lot of legislation, regulation and guidance which explains care experienced children’s rights, and care leaver entitlements. These documents detail what rights and entitlements you have because you are, or have been, living in care.

It’s important for you to remember that you matter - you have rights. You should always be treated with respect, and should be listened to.

You have the right to be well looked after, to feel safe and to have a say in decisions that are made about you. Adults are responsible for promoting and safeguarding your rights.

Know Your Rights

Your rights are written down in the law. For example the Children Act 1989, the Social Services Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 and in the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). When a decision is made that impacts you, it’s important that your thoughts and opinions on the matter are taken seriously, no matter how old you are. 

Article 12 of the UNCRC means that your views, wishes and feelings should be listened to and taken seriously when a decision is being made that affects you. Your rights are also included in other documents, including Government reports, National Care Standards and the policies and guidance written by your local authority and council.

Lots of these documents may seem a bit overwhelming, so our FAQs at the bottom of this page will help you to understand your basic rights whilst you live in care, and your entitlements as a care leaver too.

What is The Children Act?

The Children Act is the most important law for children and young people’s rights. It tells you what you should expect from the people who are making decisions about you and your future. The Children Act is important to you because: 

  • It gives you protection 
  • It puts your welfare first 
  • It says you must be listened to and be taken seriously by adults
  • It gives you the right to be in contact with your family, unless that puts you at risk
  • It gives you the right to make a complaint. 

Stand Up For Your Rights

If you feel that your rights aren’t being respected, it might be a good idea to speak to someone about your situation. 

An independent advocate will always be on your side and won’t judge you or tell you what to do. Instead, they can listen to you, provide advice, and help you to make a complaint if your rights are not being upheld.

If you want to know more about accessing an advocate for support, contact the NYAS helpline and we will be happy to help and advise you. You can also ask your social worker or someone you trust to contact us on your behalf.

Living in Care Rights and Entitlements FAQs

Care Leaver Rights and Entitlements FAQs

Keep in touch!

Sign up to receive email updates about our work, including our campaigning and fundraising efforts. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Follow us

Stay up to date on social media