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Why Care Day 2018 matters so much to our young people

“We think we are some of the bravest,  most resilient children around – we are asking you to get involved and support Care Day!” Five Rivers Youth Council, April 2017.

In the Spring of 2017,  representatives of Five Rivers’ children in care from around the country met up at our Youth Council. They said the most important issue for them was the stigma around care – and the terrible isolation and prejudice this can lead to. They put forward a solution – a day of positivity, celebrating them and all their achievements.

Our Young People drafted a letter to the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, asking for a National Day for Children Living in Care and Care Leavers to be established in England.

Then, we discovered there already was a Care Day in the UK, organised in England by Become Charity, part of the ‘5 Nations 1 Voice’ Alliance. The really good news is that Care Day promotes ALL the positive messages our young people said they wanted to hear – about being allowed to thrive, achieve their dreams and feeling fulfilled and proud.

This discovery gave our project a new momentum.  So, we were inspired to home-produce a beautiful film, voiced by the young people in their own words. This film will be released on our Facebook and Twitter feeds on Care Day 2018 – it urges everyone, everywhere to commit to doing something to celebrate and support children in care. We want everyone to watch the film and share it with their friends and contacts.

Alongside this –  our looked after children all want to have an opportunity to celebrate the day. The first challenge to overcome for publicity was anonymity  – how do you celebrate young people on social media when you can’t show their faces by law – even if they wanted you to?

Together we came up with a solution – superhero masks! It’s not patronising, nor is it an overstatement to say that children in care need superhuman powers to overcome some of the challenges they have faced in their short lives.

Next, we needed to create some opportunities for the children to wear the masks so we organised a whole host of activities on the week of 12 February 2018, involving our fostering offices and our participation champions all over the country. At these events, our young people will be challenging people in authority to commit to celebrating Care Day from 2019 onward!



We are working with our partners Investing in Children to introduce the general public to Care Day with two big regional events in the South West and North East. We will be sharing our expertise in children’s participation in some free workshops for professionals and carers.

LONDON – a meeting between our young people and Anne Longfield – asking her to put pressure on the government authorities and people in power to support the messages of Care Day in future.
SOUTH WEST  – young people will travel to Wales to attend a ‘Proud to Be Me’ event.
WORCESTER – young people will meet an elected representative from local government  – Cllr Tom Baker-Price;
SALISBURY  – joint event with the Wiltshire Police
CORNWALL – activities with a superhero theme
ISLE OF WIGHT – fun day bowling and Laserquest
EXETER –  Forest School session organised in a country park
GLOUCESTER – graffiti workshop

It’s a huge undertaking – but Five Rivers are driven by our commitment to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Our Participation Principles are:

Participation is valued and the views of children and young people are taken seriously.
All children are given the same opportunities to be included in decision making that affects their lives.
Participation should be a fun, creative process and children’s and young people’s achievements rewarded and celebrated.
This is our Children’s Charter written by our Youth Council:

Five Rivers believes Care Day is a powerful way to drive forward the recognition of young people in care – what they have achieved and what they can offer to our society.

Our aim is for young people to leave care as adults with high self-esteem – many become carer professionals themselves, striving to make a better world for children who lives have been torn apart by neglect, trauma, and abuse. We want to show the world the impact they can have when their lives have been turned around – support Care Day and help us make that a reality!

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