No matter how much thought, compassion and people hours that are put into working with young people in care, it’s still regarded by the general public as a rather grey area.
Some of the public just think that these young people are victims exclusively. So their comments and attitudes just reek of patronage. Others try and avoid thinking of them as they represent casualties of society and so little or no thought or energy goes into accepting them as full and productive members of the community.
The truth, of course, is that they are just the same as you and I. They are no better or no worse than the rest of the population.
They’ve just had a difficult start in life. We do have a duty towards them for this reason. We do have a responsibility to ensure their lives are as fair and equal as everybody else.
So hearing that more than 120 of England’s local authorities have signed up to the Care Leavers Charter setting out issues facing those leaving care and committing support to care leavers until they are 25 years old, is another step in the right direction.
All ‘normal’ parental support should be available from local authorities. Such as advice on employment, health, education and finance as a matter of course instead of by luck or postcode lottery.
This weeks podcast, released 13.03.14 features a substantial interview with David Akinsanya who is regarded as one of the national champions for young people in care. A care leaver himself, subjected to a turbulent childhood, David Akinsanya talks of the highs and lows of his experiences, the people who supported him as well as the threats to his future.
Now a respected advocate and film maker he’s very well placed to talk about positive experiences that came with the significant support from an excellent social worker and offers advice for others.
There’s still a lot to be done and the 10,000 young people who leave care aged 16 – 18 every year a significant number will still be cast adrift unless we consolidate these initiatives and accept these young people as full and equal citizens entitled to full and equal support.
Listen to inspirational interview with David Akinsanya – a care leaver with an emotive story.by