Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility means the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a person has for a child and their property. Legally, parental responsibility comes to an end when a young person reaches the age of 18.

As you approach adulthood, you are encouraged to become more involved in decisions about your life. It is important that you, your parent/carers and professionals working with you understand how your parent/carers’ role will change as you become an adult.

How does it work?

When you turn 18 and legally become an adult, you have the right to make your own decisions. This is where you have capacity to do so and should be supported to do so wherever possible. These can be small decisions such as the activities you want to do on a given day or big decisions such as where you want to live or what medical treatment to receive.

The law also recognises that you may not be able to make your own decisions. If you unable to make your own decision because you do not have the mental capacity to do so, other people have to decide what is in your ‘best interests’.  Family members can continue to be involved in making decisions about you in your best interests if you lack capacity.

However, this will not automatically be the case in all aspects of your life and parents/carers may need to apply to make decisions about specific aspects of your life.

There is more information about capacity and the way young people without capacity can be supported elsewhere:

When does this change?

Parental responsibility legally ends when you reach the age of 18, but you can continue to have your parents involved as much as you want.