One week on from the announcements of the Care Review in England, the ‘Our Care, Our Say’ report sets out what care experienced people think should be done. This report ensures that the advice from care experienced people is spelled-out loud and clear.
During October and November 2020, a detailed survey of 163 people was carried out and an event involving 76 people discussed the issues in depth. This report meticulously captures all those views and documents what people said.
The report sets out the first-hand views of a wide range of care experience people of all ages: those in care, those leaving care and those who have been in care. It makes a significant contribution to inform how the Care Review should be carried out and what it should address.
Johnny Hoyle a member of the organising group, who grew up in care, said:
“This report is titled ‘Is this the time people are going to listen?’ because there is a feeling from the care experienced community that they have been speaking out for a long time, but do not yet feel they have been listened to.”
“The report clearly conveys the views of care experience people about how the review should be run and how they should be involved. By also setting out plainly people’s fears, those organising the review can pay close attention, to ensure that the way in which people with direct experience are involved is positive.”
Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England said:
“I am pleased to see that the care experienced community is submitting early views to the Care Review in England. The priorities put forward in this report echo many of the things that both children in care and children leaving care have been saying to me. The importance of stability and trusting relationships has once again been emphasised, and the need to have a choice of good safe places to live, where children can receive the help they need and feel loved, comes through loud and clear.”
Selina Anderson, now a social worker, who was fostered when her parent could no longer cope with caring for her and her siblings, said:
“People who participated in these discussions reinforced the view from the Care Experienced Conference, which I also supported nearly 2 years ago, that being care experienced is a lifelong issue and should attract lifelong support.”
“It was also clear that people wanted to see struggling families getting more help to prevent difficult situations worsening and children needing to come into care in the first place. Something which is close to my heart.”
“And if children do need to be in care, the overriding message is the importance of love and stability and for people to be treated with compassion and sensitivity.”
Judith Denton, a successful entrepreneur who grew up in foster care, added:
“Across all age ranges we heard, yet again, about the importance of well-being and mental health support, to help the care experienced deal with the difficult and traumatic situations which have often been a feature of their lives. I truly empathise with the importance of this view, having faced my own challenges in this area, as a care leaver.”
” People also felt strongly that children in care should not feel treated as second class citizens. As one participant put it “If it is not good enough for you then it is not good enough for us”.
It is hoped by all those who contributed to the survey and event that the views set out in this report will inform the way in which the Care Review in England is conducted and the areas in which it will focus attention. Care experienced people of all ages stand ready to help and are committed to making this a meaningful review. Above all, they want to see things improve and want to play a part in making that happen.
Notes to editors
- The Our Care, Our Say survey was carried out in October 2020 and 193 responses were received. An Event was held in November 2020 attended by 63 people. The full report is available on the website https://ourcareoursay.wordpress.com/
- Johnny Hoyle, Selina Anderson and Judith Denton are all care experienced members of the organising group for Our Care, Our Say. Members of the organising group are available for interview. For this or any other queries please contact Alison O’Sullivan email:email@example.com or phone: 07831 894356
- The Care Experienced Conference – Past, Present & Future? was a national conference for care experienced people and care leavers of all ages which took place on the 26th April 2019 at Liverpool Hope University. The reports are available here https://info822785.wixsite.com/careexpconf/reports
- There are estimated to be over 400,000 people with experience of care nationally. There are currently 80,000 children in care.
- The Care Review in England was launched on Friday 15th January 2021 here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/education-secretary-launches-review-of-childrens-social-care