Care Experienced Week 2020
It’s Care Experienced Week #CEW2020!
This year the focus is on connection with the Care Experienced community, as well as celebrating them, particularly in the current lockdown climate. There's lots going on - you can find out what's happening on Who Cares? Scotland's website, and you can also share what you plan to do on social media using the hashtags #CEWConnect and #CEW2020.
All week, the Trust will be highlighting rights and equalities for young people with care experience.
Our Rights and Equalities funding initiative is designed to support projects which target young people with care experience who may face additional disadvantage due to protected characteristics, experience of youth justice, homelessness or mental ill-health.
Below you can find blogs, cartoons, and input from our funded projects about how to support young people to engage with all of their identities.
“Just because he doesn’t speak, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have anything to say.”
Today we are focussing on the Trust funded Aberlour Rights & Equalities project.
In February 2018, Aberlour received a 3 year funding award from the Trust to improve awareness of the needs and aspirations of young people with care experience supported by Aberlour’s disability services throughout Scotland, as well as improve their confidence and support them to assert their rights.
There are currently approximately 1,700 looked after children in Scotland who have disabilities. Aberlour works with young people by coordinating and delivering participation and engagement sessions with them and their parents/carers. Each session involves young people by delivering a range of engagement activities appropriate to age, ability and communication needs, around identified themes. The sessions aim to identify issues and/or areas for improvement regarding the care and support young people receive, helping the “quieter voices” be heard.
Aberlour will plan and coordinate a national campaign, in partnership with other stakeholder organisations, to influence policy around those identified areas for improvement, aiming to ensure equality and to protect and promote the rights of young people with care experience who have disabilities.
Ruth Harvey, Rights and Participation Officer at Aberlour wrote a really powerful blog about how we better enable young people with care experience who also have disabilities to have their voices heard.
Yesterday, we heard from a team of researchers at University of Stirling’s Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection, who are carrying out the evaluation of our ‘Rights and Equalities’ projects and our Empowerment projects.
It is important to remember that people have different experiences of care – it isn’t a single experience, and it isn’t experienced in isolation. We have to understand better how other aspects of identity and other kinds of social issues might influence and shape care experience. This combination of experiences can also influence young people’s lives beyond care.
The researchers have been running online groups, talking to young people who have been involved in Life Changes Trust projects to ask them about their experiences. They wanted to hear from young people about their experiences of the combination of being in care and things like having a disability, being LGBTQ+ or being a member of an ethnic minority community, and how important it was to have the complexity of their identities understood and heard.
They have created a visual representation to highlight some of the issues young people face and how important it is to break down siloed ways of working and pay attention to the whole of who they are.
On Tuesday we featured one of our funded projects from LGBT Youth Scotland - their Care Experienced Youth Commission, a group of young activists working to get LGBT voices heard.
In April 2015, and with Life Changes Trust funding, LGBT Youth Scotland set-up, developed and implemented a new Youth Commission focused on the needs and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people with care experience. With this project, young people are able to exercise their right to be heard on their experience of the care system - for instance, their findings helped inform the Independent Care Review.
Around 15 LGBT young people with care experience were recruited to make up the Commission, to represent the views of their peers so that they are better represented and their influence on policy is directly felt.
The Youth Commission made a film explaining who they are, what they do and why it’s so important to have their voices heard. One of their strands of work is carrying out research, and influencing in the care sector, to shine a light on how better to support young people with care experience who are also LGBT, who often don’t have much of a voice. They have produced a set of ‘key asks’ for the care sector. Here is a BSL version of their film.
The Youth Commission also produced a set of recommendations for the care sector on how to create safe environments for LGBT people in care settings. You can download it here
Sarah Anderson, who is the policy and participation officer at LGBT Youth Scotland, also wrote a blog which introduces the Youth Commission, and contains a case study of a young people’s experience on the project.
On Monday, we started with a blog, written for us by Alastair Minty from In Control Scotland.
In April of 2018 In Control Scotland received an award from the Life Changes Trust to run a 3 year ‘Rights and Equalities’ project that works with young people with care experience who also have a physical/learning disability. The aim of this project is to work together on improving how to exercise rights and to improve confidence, skills and aspirations. This has focussed on individual opportunities as well as accessibility of groups and other settings.