Flintshire first county in Wales to launch ID card for carers and those in care

Flintshire has become the first county in Wales to launch an ID card scheme for young carers or children in care to help them explain their situation. LOIS YORK reports

An identity card to help young people in Flintshire who are in care, leaving care or care for others has been launched.

Access to Action (A2A) is a brand new ID card that has been requested by young people who find it difficult to explain their status in school to teachers and when they need instant access to council services.

The card design was unveiled at a special launch at Clwyd Theatr Cymru on Friday, which was attended by children’s commissioner for Wales Keith Towler.

The idea has been developed by young people who are either part of Barnardo’s Cymru Young Carers Service or supported by Flintshire Social Services for Children.

Teenagers looking after parents with health problems and disabilities spoke of how they have not been understood by teachers who aren’t aware of their home lives.

Children in care have also highlighted the lack of recognition and the need to have a quicker response to their issues or problems without having to explain their background each time.

Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for social services at Flintshire County Council, said: “The A2A card will be the first of its kind in Wales and will enable young carers, looked after children and care leavers to receive both the recognition they deserve and prompt access to appropriate services they need.

“They will be able to show it and get instant understanding that their lives are not as straightforward as the majority of young people’s.

“The young people have identified social services and schools as the priority areas in stage one as areas where the card could assist them most.”

Sarah Matthews, of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “The young carers in Flintshire have been discussing the merits of this project for a long time and see it helping them to overcome some of the barriers they face. Eventually, the cards will let medical professionals know that the person they care for has given consent for them to discuss issues including their condition, medication and prognosis. We would love to hear from retailers and leisure providers as to how they can support the scheme.”

Flintshire is the first county in Wales to have the cards and the young people hope that the idea could help people all over the country.

The idea has been welcomed by Mr Towler,who said: “I am really pleased to be involved in the launch of the new A2A card for young carers and children and young people in care.

My report, Full of Care, found that most young carers felt that the vital role that they play in society went without recognition or appreciation within their communities. As a result of this I recommended the development of a national ID card, to help them clearly identify themselves as young carers, gain acknowledgment of their role and to provide them with greater access to supportive understanding.

“By extending this card to children and young people in care, Barnardo’s Cymru and Flintshire’s social services have taken a huge step towards improving the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable children and young people. I am eager to see every local authority in Wales establish a similar scheme.”