A group of young people from VOYPIC – Voice of Young People in Care- hosted a special Tea Party Meet & Greet on Tuesday 21 June in the Long Gallery, Stormont.
The young people welcomed new and returning MLAs from the across the NI Assembly Chamber, talking to them about the work of VOYPIC, their experiences of care and leaving care, and their thoughts on how care can be improved for all young people.
“We, as young people, feel it is important that we can speak to our MLAs about the challenges we face on a daily basis, and how we overcome them,” commented Rhianna, one of the organisers.
“We wanted to share our thoughts on some of the bigger issues that we want the politicians to tackle while they elected members of our Assembly, and to share some of our thoughts and ideas on what can be done.”
Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, met with the young people at the event. Children’s social care is within the remit of his Department, and the Minister recently announced an Independent Review of services, led by Professor Ray Jones. VOYPIC is supporting a group of young people with lived experience of services to act as the Experts by Experience (EBE) Reference Group for this Review.
The event allowed young people to talk to decision makers about their campaign to bring about change in the language of care, and how we speak to (and about) young people in and leaving care. Party games included a ‘Call My Bluff’ style quiz, show how words associated with care have alternate meanings, and calling on attendees to change they way they talk about care.