“Help Make Our Futures Brighter” – Children in Care Advocate to Council in Heartbreaking Letter
Children in care have asked Stirling counselors to accept no less for them than they would for their own children in a heartbreaking letter.
A group of young people – including those in foster care and institutions – came together to plead for more support and heartbreakingly declared “we are not bad children”.
Their letter says, “None of this is our fault.
“We have often suffered abuse, neglect and mistreatment and statistics tell us that having such a bad start to childhood means that we will probably have a poor future too.
“We are asking for your help to change this and make our future brighter. “
It ends with a call to the board, as the “parent company” to treat them as they would treat theirs.
It is signed “Stirling’s Champions Board” which is made up of young people taken in charge or supported by the council.
Tracy Degan, Development Officer for Champions, recently made a presentation to the Board’s Children and Youth Committee on the responsibilities of members as parent companies.
She highlighted a training module that was developed to raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable children and youth.
She added: “We listened to what all the young people were telling us and think we did our best to catch that.
“The young people asked us to think about the language we use. For example, “don’t engage” is a phrase we often use, but young people tell us that we don’t “engage”, we just haven’t built that trusting relationship yet.
“The module will be ready for use once changes have been made at their request.
“We want it to be mandatory.
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However, for much of the presentation, Ms Degan let the young people speak themselves, playing a voice recording of one of the young people reading a joint letter, then describing it as “quite powerful”.
The committee also heard from other officers about progress made with a range of initiatives to improve the care and support of children and youth, including The Promise, and an increased focus on early intervention to help support young people in their own homes.
Marshal Christine Simpson thanked the officers for “the tremendous and complex work”, welcoming the goal of addressing “some of the injustices so poignantly described in the letter”.
She asked how issues such as the need for foster families with larger accommodation could be overcome to help keep siblings together.
Committee facilitator Councilor Susan McGill said it was hoped that more support at an earlier stage would mean fewer young people would need foster families, while the senior director for children and families, Marie Valente, said recruitment drives were also being developed specifically for host families able to take on larger family groups.
On the broader refocus, Ms Valente said the next step would be a shift from references to more intensive family supports in the hope of preventing children from having to enter the system.
Councilor Martin Earl was concerned that crisis services were under-resourced, but still needed.
However, Ms. Valente added, “This is a 10 year plan. Currently, we are over-using crisis services because the situations are reaching their climax. If we have a solid, intensive and readily available set of resources, the crisis will not be as necessary and resources can be transferred.
“I have no doubts about the significant challenge of achieving this. We cannot put children at risk and this must be intensively funded. We almost have to over-resource at the beginning.
Officers said that in addition to being able to save and transfer money, there was probably some outside funding they could apply for and it was not just about money, but “overhauling. services “.
Councilor McGill said: “To achieve all of this we need a cultural change and Marie has already demonstrated since I was elected how this can happen.”
Councilor Margaret Brisley said: “We are not going to change the system until we change other societal issues.
“I find it so difficult to hear young people talking about their aspirations and not knowing how to contact us.
“None of us would disagree with the sentiments of this report. We could not. These young people deserve the best chances in life. I’m just worried about how we put it into practice to make sure their lives are actually changed.
“They need the same opportunities as our own children. I’m not sure writing reports and having those aspirations is going to make a difference, but it’s okay to do the practical things that can happen and funding is absolutely crucial.
“We need a commitment from elected members at all levels, and especially at Scottish government level, that if they follow through on this promise they will fund it adequately so that the changes we all want can actually happen. produce.”