Young people get ready for a 'super' Care Day
Care Day, an initiative led by VOYPIC in Northern Ireland, is intended to become a regular feature on the yearly calendar of children's events here, but also in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Aimed at encouraging children and young people in care as well as their carers to tell real and positive stories about their experiences, Care Day hopes to challenge negative perceptions and tell a more accurate story.
Explaining why they are leading the Care Day campaign, Vivian McConvey, VOYPIC's CEO said:
"This is our first ever Care Day and I'm delighted that so many organisations have come on board to mark it. From dawn to dusk - and later still - there's an activity or event going on somewhere in Northern Ireland where people will be talking about care.
"We need to change attitudes towards children in care and care leavers. It's already been tough enough for them and they should have the same life chances as their peers who have not been in care. I'm convinced that if we work at this together we can have the best system to care for vulnerable children and young people.
"Too often, it's distressing and negative stories that make the headlines. There is another – equally important - side to children's lives. The only thing we're asking people to do today is to think about care, look at it in a different way and tell us what your wish is for the care system and the children who live in it."
In preparation, young people involved with the Give & Take Scheme across our offices have been designing their 'ideal care home' and researching celebrities and superheros who grew up in care. During the workshop young people will use their research to create their own characters and graphic novel page, which will be collated together to tell their own story.
Jemma, a young participant in at our Give & Take Scheme in Ards, said:
"I choose to research the life of Marilyn Monroe because she is a role model throughout the world and it is hard to believe she was in care and went through some of the same things as myself at such a young age.
"Marilyn showed courage and determination to get to where she wanted to go, she had the drive to get on with her life and get up every day and carry on even though there were things going on in the background of her life, she didn't let it get her down, she pushed herself to the limit and done what she had to do to become the woman she was."
Paddy Mooney, Director at Include Youth, said:
"This day marks a real opportunity to shine a spotlight on the lives of young people in and leaving care and acts as a reminder to all, especially those responsible for delivering services to these young people, that their lives are important everyday and their stories should always be heard."
Include Youth's Give & Take: Core works predominantly but not exclusively with young people aged 16 to 21 from a care background who are furthest from mainstream education, training or employment opportunities. Many of these young people live in children's homes or residential care and will have experienced social exclusion or need additional support to overcome the complex barriers they face in their lives.
Media enquiries: For more information contact Sharon Whittaker, Communications Officer at Include Youth, on 028 9031 1007 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
- For a list of the activities and events see www.facebook.com/VoypicCareDay
- Numbers of children and young people in care in Northern Ireland by placement type at 31 March 2015 [Source: Children's Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2014/15, DHSSPS, published 15 October 2015]
- 2,875 children in care
- 76% in foster care
- 12% placed with family
- 7% in children's homes or residential care
- Other organisations marking Care Day with VOYPIC include:
- Belfast City Council and the Lord Mayor of Belfast
- Belfast Youth Forum
- Derry City and Strabane District Council
- Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and Regional Adoption and Foster Team (RAFT)
- The five Health and Social Care Trusts
- Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY)
- Beat Carnival
- The Fostering Network
- Foster Care Associates
- Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO)
- Northern Ireland Association of Social Work (NIASW)
- The Princes Trust
- Ulster University
- VIable Corporate Services