Posted: 10 August 2015

Handle with Care: Christian's story

Christian spent a day talking to the public about the importance of supporting young people who are placed away from home. 

I helped out with The Children’s Society’s Handle With Care campaign launch in Greater Manchester in June. Supporting this campaign was important to me due to my own experiences as a care leaver.

At 16 I had to move to a new area due to a breakdown in my foster placement. I left my foster placement, but I was still in the care of my local authority. I’d just started college when this happened, which meant that suddenly I needed to take two buses just to travel to college. I struggled with this due to issues I had around managing my finances and often found myself late to classes or missing days entirely. This had a noticeably detrimental effect on my education. 

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Handle With Care

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The Handle with Care campaign is about ensuring the right support is available to young people in care when they have to move between placements. It looks at a number of issues, such as ensuring they can get to and from college, for example. The recommendations were developed through interviews with looked after children and care leavers such as myself.

Speaking to the public

The day of action involved informing the public about the issues young people in the care system faced and gathering signatures for a petition which will be presented to local authorities. Volunteers, including myself, were based across town centres throughout Greater Manchester.

I was quite surprised by the number of people signing the petition who had either experienced the care system themselves, or who knew someone who had been or were foster carers.

It often seems to me like the care system is not at the forefront of the public consciousness, so it was heartening to see this was an issue that so many people seemed to know and care about.

I was also interested to note there were lots of things that the people I spoke to did not know about – for example in many boroughs there are a lack of placements for looked after children in the local authority that is responsible for them. While some looked after children are placed outside of their borough for their own safety, it’s still important that they are fully supported, wherever they live.

Challenging misconceptions

I think it is important to continue to speak to people about the care system to address misconceptions. A better understanding of the care system will hopefully improve public support for campaigns that aim to support young people in care.

Overall, I felt the day was a success. We spoke to thousands of people over the course of a few hours and exceeded the number of signatures we had aimed for. Hopefully this will show decision-makers that the public are behind improving support for looked after children and care leavers placed outside of their borough.

By Christian - Guest bloggers
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Handle With Care

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Handle with Care: Supporting children in care in Greater Manchester

Posted: 5 June 2015

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Handle with Care: helping young people in the care system

Posted: 5 June 2015