Laura’s thoughts on her visit the Senedd

Posted by Guest blogger / Thursday 16 October 2014 / Care leavers Children in care Participation

As part of my work experience I was lucky enough to go to at a meeting at the Senedd to discuss Action for Children’s new report ‘Too much, Too young’. It wasn’t what I was expecting … to be honest I was expecting a boring meeting, luckily it wasn’t boring at all. 

The report is about how to help the most vulnerable young people build stable homes. The report says that identifying problems in a young person’s life early and preventing these issues from getting any worse can make a big difference.

Hearing from young people

3 young people, who have been in foster care, began the meeting by telling everyone about the reality of being in care. It was good to hear directly from them as it was powerful and inspiring, flooding the room with emotion.

Curtis, one of the young people, described a horrible situation that one of his friends experienced.  He explained how his friend is allowed to see her brother but the visits are arranged whilst she is in college and her brother is in work which makes it difficult. He said young people shouldn’t be forced to choose between seeing their family, college and work.

Curtis, Chelsea and Courtney said young people should have more of a say: a choice on where to live and whether they want to see their birth family. They said young people need better communication between themselves and the care system, being made aware of their rights, and their options. Everyone in the room was in agreement. We discussed how the care system needs to be more flexible, especially accommodation.

What care can feel like for children and young people

Before I went to this meeting, I had no idea what young people in care had to face and deal with. One of the young people described being put with “the naughty kids” on a school trip because she is in care. That really shocked me, because it doesn’t make any sense and being in care is not anyone’s fault.

There is no way I would have been brave enough to speak in front of a room full of people like they did. I thought they were great and that audience really understood why this matters when they spoke.

I’d like to be a children’s social worker when I’m older. I’d like to make a difference in children’s and young people’s lives. Hearing the others speak makes me even more determined.

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