Can you believe it we are 25 years old? What an amazing 25 years it has been! To celebrate our 25th birthday Vivian is putting pen to paper, well fingers to keyboard, to take us through how we got to 25. Here is her first blog - Our first conversations about care. We hope you enjoy it. 

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The Department of Health and Department of Education launched a public consultation on the draft Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives last month. Both departments have pledged to support children and young people in care; those on the edge of care and also those young people who have left care and are still in need of some support. They have made promises on various aspects of a young person’s life – rights, health, safety and stability, work and money, being positive, learning, play and equality – and would like to hear your views.

Our survey

The departments have asked us to find out what children and young people think about the plan. This is your chance to shape it so please take 10 minutes to complete our short survey.

The Department of Health and Department of Education launched a public consultation on the draft Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives last month. Both departments have pledged to support children and young people in care; those on the edge of care and also those young people who have left care and are still in need of some support. They have made promises on various aspects of a young person’s life – rights, health, safety and stability, work and money, being positive, learning, play and equality – and would like to hear your views.

You can access more information about the public consultation, which closes on 4 July, here.

Our survey

The departments have asked us to find out what children and young people think about the plan. This is your chance to shape it so please take 10 minutes to complete our short survey.

Find out more

Workshops are being organised across Northern Ireland. You can register to attend one here.

All donations we receive will make a difference to our work with children and young people living in care by improving their self esteem and life chances through regional group activities and programmes.

Find out how you can support our work by visiting http://www.voypic.org/support-us/donate-to-voypic

EXCITING NEWS! A digital version of VOYPIC NEWS has just been published. Produced by our VOYPIC News Hounds, it's full of articles and pictures celebrating our third Care Day on 16 February.

Read articles written by young people on making a video, visiting Wales, meeting Lord Mayors, going to school, being a Young Leader and much more.

See pictures from the amazing Night at the Museum and Care Day events across Northern Ireland.

Challenge yourself with the VOYPIC #CareDay18 puzzle.

There's something for everyone.

BIG SHOUT OUT to our VOYPIC News Hounds Amy, Aaron, Jodie, Jordan, Kian, Martha and Stacie and to Stephen at Appleby Print for making it look amazing!

View online here.

Download it here.

#stillcaring

Watch our new video created by a group of Young Leaders.

Martha, Stacie, Jordan and Matthew chat about what it's like growing up in care and give some tips on how to treat other young people in care.

Happy #CareDay18 everyone! Now rewind 12 months to Care Day 2017!

I remember running around the university with my purple accessories and my Twitter at the ready, taking photos and sharing news of Queen’s University’s support for Care Day.  From my classmates to lecturers to work colleagues, everyone was willing to take part and show their support!

To finish the night, it was The Care Factor with Rockaoke in the Whitla Hall! My heart was filled with joy to see all the children getting up and singing their hearts out! I wish I had that courage! There is so much value in celebrating and promoting children and young people in all types of care settings and care leavers. We may be living our lives differently and, for me, it’s how we portray that difference that is important!  Take me for example.  My story so far would be seen by many as having been traumatic, but to me, it was a learning experience through which I can help others if it’s ‘inspirational’ to them.  Positive portrayal people!

This year #CareDay18 is focused on the rights of care experienced children and young people. As a social work student (qualifying in less than a year and a half! Scary!) I work to promote the welfare of the child I am working with. Given my lived experience, I know where extra help may be needed. By placing a child in care, you impact on some of their rights, for example being part of their biological family. It is really important to acknowledge new rights or entitlements, such as a right to contact and ensure we can meet and promote them.

We need to better recognise the rights of care experienced children as children first but also as care-experienced! How do we raise awareness of these rights though? Let’s educate children and young people about their rights so they can be more informed and more involved in decisions that are going to shape their lives. #selfdetermination!

I’m 23 and only found out about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when I started studying social work! I didn’t know this growing up and this could have increased my involvement in decision making as it was one of my rights! We need to better educate children from a young age about their rights and promote more engagement in their own care alongside the adult decision making.

So guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed my special #CareDay18 blogs and have enjoyed it all so far!

Welcome to Blog Number 2 folks! For social work students, work placement is a big part of your time at university so it’s only right that I tell you all about my placement....

In August I started my first placement and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Anyone who knows me knows that, when I started this course, I wanted to work in a 16+ team. I love the idea of working with young adults developing independence skills as it fits with my own experience. So you can imagine my surprise when I find myself in an adult mental health placement.

Now I had never considered working in mental health before and I was very scared and dubious starting it. Now that I’ve finished my placement, I understand why everyone told me to go in with an open mind. It was amazing and I got to learn so much! Not only did I get to learn more about mental health and the medical side of things, I got to work with an amazing team who were nothing but supportive. But most important of all were the people I worked with.

I learnt so much about how to work with people. I learned about the importance of working in partnership and ensuring that they are empowered to make their own decisions and have a say in their care. I got so much hands on experience. I’m really thankful to the staff and my practice teacher for teaching me so much, but it’s the people I worked with who taught me even more and were so supportive and willing to let me join them on their recovery journey. It’s safe to say that I couldn’t have asked for a better placement. They say when you find your niche in social work you’ll know… I think I may have found mine.

Work placement really opened my eyes to the world of social work that the classroom doesn’t provide. And having been a service user, it gave me a holistic view and I was able to use that to develop my practice. I hope to continue to use it to inform my future practice and eventually policy in the future. I also realised that farming is a great method of self-care!

Tune in on Friday - #CareDay18 - for my final blog where I’m going to do a throw-back to Care Day 2017!

Well folks, it has been a long year since my last blog post! With #CareDay18 round the corner and it being the third year…I thought, why not treat you all to three blogs?!

Now I bet you’ve been asking yourself, what has Billie-Jo been doing for the past year? Well let’s begin with the latter part of my first year as a social work student! Having passed my law and theory modules, this semester was focused on the social sciences and yeah, they were interesting but I was more focused on planning for my placement in August (more on this to come on Wednesday)!

I was also given the opportunity to go on an international trip to Portland, Oregon with the university to visit a non-governmental organisation working on drug addiction. Most of my experience in relation to drugs was within my biological family so this gave me an opportunity to develop my knowledge. And boy did I learn a lot! Not only did I conquer my fear of flying (four flights of nearly seven hours each definitely helped) and get to go to America for the first time, I also got to see how the US operates in so many different ways. I have so many memories that I will never forget. From being in a drug court and sitting in the judge’s chair, to having a young man who is same age as me bring me to tears with his story, to seeing an operational methadone clinic. I got to see homeless programmes operating within the city which gave me so many ideas of what Northern Ireland could do!

Of course I also got to see the amazing city of Portland (gorgeous but strange) and definitely came home with an overload of clothes (thrift shops in America are amazing)!

Through this trip I was able to observe a range of different activities and experiences which I think I can apply in practice! It might have been a different type of service and function but social workers from all over the world share the same vision - to help those who are in need of help!
Until Wednesday Folks!

Contact Brenda on 028 90244 4888 to register your event and get a Care day promotional pack.

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