As we head towards National Care Leavers Week (NCLW) 2018, it seems we need this awareness even more than in previous years. Earlier this week Kenny Murray, Public Affairs Coordinator for Who Cares? Scotland, had to call out the RSPCA for stigmatising care experienced children. In their campaign, #GenerationKind, the RSPCA said:
Research has shown that children who have witnessed or experienced abuse at a young age sometimes don’t know that cruelty is wrong and will copy this behaviour. In some cases, children take out their feelings of powerlessness on innocent animals and this can cause their foster placement to break down…
This helps to ensure the children begin to have more positive interactions with the animals around them. Not only does this keep animals safe from harm, it also helps to keep the children in secure and loving foster homes and out of the youth justice system.
Murray’s response to this was: ‘All of the language in this [campaign], however, is built towards a preconceived idea that if you are Care Experienced you are more likely to harm animals and that if only you learned to love animals you could be in a more stable home. You might not go to prison. Because you’re more likely to end up in prison if you’re Care Experienced.’
That such a huge charity thought it was okay to reinforce these stereotypes shows we still have a lot of work to do to #changethenarrative.
Ongoing objections from care experienced people still include not being heard, not being able to tell their story, and experiencing stereotyping, stigmatisation and labelling throughout their lives
National Care Leavers’ Week is about highlighting the needs of care experienced individuals, and encouraging the agencies responsible for looking after them to work in a coordinated and effective way. Some of the events happening this year:
Your Life Your Story 23rd-26thOct. Caregiver Amanda Knowles MBE and care experienced Rosie Canning, Author and Doctoral Researcher are organising this unique annual event. YLYS 2018 brings care experienced adults and caregivers with literary aspirations together with published authors, artists and poets to reflect and learn the art of storytelling in a therapeutically supported environment. The story starts now and is written in chalk not ink. #ChangingTheNarrative.
Jolene Campbell, Journalist who attended last year’s YLYS has organised a creative writing residential ‘Identity’, at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Creative Writing Centre. Emma Beeby and Kevin MacNeil will be introducing care experienced young people in Scotland age 18-26, to help you develop your creativity and shape whatever story you want to tell.
No Colours for my Coat by Paul Yusuf with the Rees Foundation. Art display from Tues 30th October. Exclusive Reading by Paul Yusuf 30th Oct 2-3pm at the Rees Cafe Redditch
Bobbie Byrne has organised the Going Places Festival 24th– 3rdNov at Battersea Arts celebrates and champions care experience artists and narratives. Talks, shows, workshops, installations from artists, speakers and creatives who have lived experience of care including Lemn Sissay.
Who Cares? Scotland have a Global Care Family Gathering taking place from 27th Oct 10.00 to 16.00 – The Greenwood Conference Centre, Greenwood Gate, Dreghorn, Irvine, KA11 4GZ. The conference will be curated and delivered entirely by Care Experienced people and will set out a global ambition for change beyond borders. A series of inspirational speakers from across the globe will share insights on their experiences of care, and Care Experienced people from across the world will be supported to connect over their shared identities. Breakfast rolls, refreshments and lunch will be provided.
NCLW was established in 2002 by independent charity the Care Leavers’ Foundation.
Kenny Murray has encouraged anyone with care experience to post pictures with their pets to show the RSPCA that the care experienced community is more likely to have a pet or the memory of a pet because animals give that wonderful unconditional love that #HumanKind seek.