The Fostering Network is encouraging care experienced children and young people to reclaim care by celebrating their positive achievements this spring with the launch of a new digital platform.
The Reclaim Care digital platform, created as part of the Department for Education funded Inspiring Voices project, allows children, young people, and care leavers, to share their successes in the form of a meme and to upload it into the gallery of achievements.
Inspiring Voices is a one year project designed to raise young people’s and foster carers’ awareness of, and engagement with, children in care councils in England. This work has been done by recruiting and training care leavers aged 18-25 to be young ambassadors in six areas, who were catalysts for change locally and nationally through the provision of near-peer support. They sought the views of young people in care, and encouraged a broader group of young people to engage with opportunities to influence services and shape their design and delivery.
Yacouba Traore, a care experienced young person, young ambassador, and information technology student, said: ‘I want to reclaim care because I am very proud what I have achieved so far. I have started a BSc (Hons) Information Technology at Teesside University. Previously I studied BTEC Extended Diploma in IT at Stockton Riverside College which I achieved the highest possible grades on course and I picked up a triple distinction star. I also received a Young Person's Achievement award from Stockton Council for education, which shows my commitment to my studies.’
Yacouba’s meme said: ‘I’m in care and I have studied computing at university and I feel proud #ReclaimCare’
Despite having a busy life with his studies, Yacouba has been motivated by the Inspiring Voices project to give back to his community: ‘I took part in Inspiring Voices because I would like to make a difference to the children in care council in Stockton on Tees. I would like to make the care system better for other children and young people because it is crucial that the voice of children or young people is listened to. Children in care councils have the potential to contribute to changing the lives of young people in care, providing that children and young people are given the correct platform to share and discuss their views.”
Lisa Belletty from the Inspiring Voices project said: ‘The Fostering Network believes that all fostered young people should have their voices heard and be given the opportunity to shape children’s services in partnership with local authorities and decision makers. That is why Inspiring Voices had young people at the very heart of the project.
‘#ReclaimCare is about more than just sharing positive experiences, it’s about showing people that whatever your start – you can grow and flourish and have the life that your hard work and dedication deserves.’
If you would like to join us and #ReclaimCare, please visit our website www.reclaimcare.co.uk