With the new decade just beginning, what better time to look back and reflect? This January, I have taken the time to look at what Avolve does, our aims for 2020 and new ways in which we can create waves to help change our care system for the better.
2019 was the year for us to lay down the foundations of our society, get to grips with the issues children-in-care face and try to make connections within the local community. This was definitely harder than we all thought. It opened my eyes to how enclosed children-in-care can be and how hard it can be for them to break the stigma. It dawned on us how we need an army of advocates to help break down the barriers. Slowly we have made connections with others who are willing to help us on our mission. We are still building this army and in 2020 we desperately need your help.
It strikes me as very odd that there is so little awareness and knowledge of children-in-care and yet it is a group in our society which is so heavily stigmatised and marginalised. I believe that if we all had a little more knowledge, we would reduce the stigma within society, increase the opportunities and create a care system better equipped to deal with our young people. So, this year, I am making it our mission to help raise greater awareness of our care system, the troubles it faces and, more importantly, the amazing achievements of children-in-care.
If you knew that the likes of Coco Chanel and Steve Jobs were cared for children, then perhaps you could open up to the idea of children-in-care having the ability to create incredible things. Maybe achieving for these young people is not just about becoming an iconic fashion designer or the king of technological advancements but attaining 5 GCSE’s A*-C can be incredible triumph for children-in-care due to lack of support and inadequate levels of education.
Only 6% of care experienced people go to university compared to 50% of young people in the general population. Just let that sink in a moment… These young people who achieve such an incredible feat, need to be encouraged to act as role models for younger children in the care system to inspire them to believe in their own abilities. If young people in care were told that they could achieve higher education, instead of being stigmatised and led to believe that they “don’t have the abilities or opportunities” then maybe this figure will improve? I hope so. So, this year we will aim to give encouragement and guidance to young people in care to help them achieve their dreams which they thought to be impossible. With a little support and determination, anything is possible.
This decade, please make it your personal mission to educate yourself on the care system, speak out for our young people and encourage children-in-care that they can make a difference and free themselves from the care system.