Care Experience & Language


Leading up to this months #CareConvos CARE EXPERIENCE AND LANGUAGE we posted examples of good and bad practice via Twitter. You can see those responses here. And see below the story of language used when #adoptee, DR JOSIE ORRELL PEARSE went to look at her files:

So in the eighties I was in touch  with the holders of my records from The National Adoption Society. I turned up at a porta-cabin behind an office building somewhere in Willesden to meet a social worker who gingerly showed me copies of my mothers letters, my file, and then took them all away again. This was 1986 and she was entitled to do that. She seemed very nice in many ways. It was policy though, she said, and allowed me to choose one letter that my mother had written. I could have the original. I chose the first one where she was pleading for help…’I want a good home for my little girl…’ It wasn’t the whole story.

Things evolved and changed and the next time I went…about 2005, to another office in Wembley, policy now allowed me to have my whole file – or at least mine and my mother’s and the documents that had been written by the workers in the children’s residential nursery.  My adoptive parents files were still not open.

It was really something. I came away with the original documents and the council kept copies in the archives.I had the whole thing. It took me a long time to go thru it so it was a while before I found the social workers’ record of the day at the porta-cabin in 1983.  She had painted a picture of me that upset me. Among other things she found it  necessary to describe me as ‘plain’. I had been a grown woman and yet she still felt she had the right or the necessity to describe my physical appearance in disparaging terms. In my baby-files I was described in unflattering terms too

Why? For me its  all about objectification, a kind of dehumanisation…you can justify anything done to someone when you can distance yourself enough to pass judgement like that. Just thoughts.”

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about language & care tonight! #Foster & #KinshipCarers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system, all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives. 



We acknowledge that one of the core issues with language is how words define people’s identify for them. While we believe this is a critical issue to discuss, we don’t feel that twitter is the place to do that in a safe way. So, this conversation will focus on language in research and practice, and how we can talk about the complex experience that is care with words that are more appropriate.

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience 
at the 💙 of our conversations.

#CareConvos is now looked after by the Care Experienced Young People’s Network (YPN) which is a small group of care experienced (CEP) young people, campaigning for improved support for care leavers.

You can find out more about their fantastic work here.

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