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Young People share their experiences at our Care Day 2018 event

National Care Day aims to break down the stigma of being in care and to change people’s negative perceptions of the care system by celebrating the achievements of those in care and to acknowledge and build on their rights. Five Rivers worked with our partners at Investing in Children to put on a big event in Sunderland on February 16 2018.

The day began with professionals Sarah-Jane and Hannah introducing National Care Day and the concepts behind it, before handing over to care leaver, Jak. Jak welcomed everybody and set up a ‘speed-dating’ session to break the ice and so we could all get to know a bit about each other’s story.

The room came to life; everybody was talking to everybody else and it really opened them up. This led nicely onto Jak and another care leaver Andrew,  sharing their own stories regarding growing up in care, revealing how their initial feelings of resentment and fear were overcome and how they now feel that being taken into care is the best thing that ever happened to them. Jak and Andrew also discussed how attending Youth Councils and meetings regarding Good Social Work practices built confidence and helped them both to realise that they do have things to say, and a voice to say those things with. Jak is now heavily involved with various committees and is a great example of how important it is for young people having a voice.

Another young person, Jade, made a hard-hitting speech on her experience of care. In her own words, Jade was ‘argumentative’ and she really struggled during the first few years of being in foster care. It was only a change in location and Social Worker that helped her turn a corner. Jade praised her Social Worker for ‘changing her life’; he never gave up and he went above and beyond to help her.  It was great to hear that she is now in a very happy place in her life and that she has a 15-month-old baby.

The day welcomed young people who are all constantly fighting to shake the stigma around being ‘looked after’ that prevents them from being treated the same as any other children.  For me, the most impressive part of the day was hearing from the care-experienced children themselves, so National Care Day 2018 highlighted the importance of young people in care having a voice. I look forward to seeing the progress they have made next year and Care Day being bigger and better than ever.

By Louise Davison, Five Rivers Fostering Support Worker, Thornaby

Care Day is a joint venture by Become Charity – promoting looked after children’s voices and care leavers’ rights in England.
Five Rivers Fostering is a member of Investing in Children – a network that promotes the rights of young people to participate in decisions relating to their care.

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