Countdown begins to first ever Care Day NI

Friday, 23 October 2015 11:42

Seán Holland, Chief Social Work Officer from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety joined young people from VOYPIC (Voice of Young People in Care) at The MAC to launch Care Day NI and pledge his support.  

The first ever Care Day will take place on Friday, 19 February 2016 and is intended to become a regular feature on the yearly calendar of children's events.

Mr Holland told young people that Care Day NI will be an opportunity to raise the profile of children in care and care leavers and celebrate their positive experiences. He said "I am delighted to lend my support to Northern Ireland's first ever Care Day. We need to change attitudes towards care-experienced children and young people who should have the same life chances as their peers who have not been in care.

"By working together with key statutory and voluntary agencies, supported by other government departments, we can help raise the profile of children and young people in care and care leavers. This will promote a shared sense of identity and positive, strong connections between young people with experience of care.

"I am sure Care Day NI will help us to fulfil this objective and I welcome the fact that it will also be celebrated across England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland on the 19th of February."

Vivian McConvey, CEO of VOYPIC welcomed Mr Holland's support:

"We want Care Day NI to be marked by everyone who shares an interest and duty towards children in care. Too often, it's distressing stories that make the headlines. There is another – equally important - side to children's lives. With Five Nations, One Voice we want Care Day to be the start of changing stories about children in care."

Some organisations have already made their pledge to Care Day NI. Vivian welcomed just a few that are making plans:

"I'm delighted we have had so many pledges already – too many to list here. But here's one example – Koulla Yiasouma, the Commissioner for Children and Young People has invited a care leaver to be 'Commissioner for the Day'. We'll also have Belfast City Council, the Health and Social Care Board and local Trusts making Care Day NI about real stories of children's strengths and achievements and what means most to them. Having a spotlight on children's lives for one day each year will give us all a chance to hear the positive stories they tell about their lives."

VOYPIC has joined forces with like-minded organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland to set up the Five Nations, One Voice coalition. All five will celebrate Care Day in their own regions. From Belfast, Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Dublin - and all points between - children and young people will lead activities to celebrate good news stories about growing up in care.