Billie-Jo's third #CareDay18 blog

Friday, 16 February 2018 13:36

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!