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Edie speaks to power about child rights

Edie* a child who is in foster care with Five Rivers Child Care in the South West of England is making her voice heard in the corridors of power.

She has joined the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) – a children’s advocacy group who are fighting for the rights of children living in bed and breakfast accommodation.  

Edie got involved in the group last year  – aged only 11 – because she wanted to help children who are less fortunate than herself. In October she attended a presentation at the Houses of Parliament where she got to meet MPs and talk to them about what she had learned.      

Our human rights activist says:

Today was very helpful for me for my future. We talked to MPs and asked them to talk to the government about how to stop children from living in Bed and Breakfast for more than six weeks.

I spoke to about six MPs. One was Siobhan McDonagh – she’s called a debate about temporary accommodation and she is going to include what we said – which is good.

There were 3960 children living in temporary accommodation in 2016 and it’s gone up from 1300 in 2013 – which is really bad. They are normally only have one parent or live with an older sibling because they cannot afford to live in a normal home.

The MPS really understood why we were there and they all wanted to help.  It was cool in the Houses of Parliament – you know all the people in power are there and I felt powerful because I was there to speak to them.

There are about 26 young people in the CRAE committee and and there will be over 100 involved altogether. The report is being edited and published early next year. What I liked most of all was meeting people in the situation – it makes you feel you want to do more to help. All sorts of different children. Some of them had actually been in bed and breakfasts for more than 6 months – a couple of sisters aged 15 – it is so bad they had to go through that in their childhood.

I want to encourage other foster children to get into this – it’s really fun. I think it will help me get to college when I tell them that I am working in an alliance that does important things to help people all over the world. I am an activist now – I‘ve been to Parliament twice. Next year our report will go to Geneva. I’d definitely like to be involved in that.

Edie’s activity is supported by Five Rivers Participation and Engagement programme. Find out more about fostering with Five Rivers.

*We have changed the child’s name to protect her identity

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