When children or young people (under the age of 18) come to the UK on their own, with no family to look after them in this country, then the state becomes responsible for them; they go into care. Their immigration background, however, often leaves them facing continuous difficulties in accessing state benefits, education and employment, even after they leave care. This issue is particularity pressing for those whose status is uncertain or temporary.
On 22 April 1993, the country was shocked by the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence in an unprovoked, racist attack. The subsequent investigation, and public enquiry highlighted the structural and systemic racism across the country.
Here at Drive Forward we would like to honour this year’s Stephen Lawrence Day by highlighting how having a supportive network, opportunity to grow and develop can provide lifelong, blended learning and development opportunities for care experienced young professionals.
We interviewed Drive Forward young person Bebert Longi about how he overcomes challenges and what he would like to ask Stephen Lawrence if he had the chance to speak with him.
Children come into care for a variety of reasons, at the start of 2020, there were 78,150 children in care in England alone. Many, if not the majority, have all suffered some form of neglect or traumatic experiences pre-care. In many situations, parents not getting the support they needed was a significant factor in this but this, in many examples, is not recognised by the child. It becomes easy to personalise their experiences and conclude that they were not worthy of love, broken or were unwanted. It is no wonder that with such generalisations made at such an early age, any other adults who ‘intervene’ may be pushed away, untrusted or seen as a threat. After all, in some instances, in the child’s mind, the only adults who should have unconditionally loved them, didn’t want them. Understanding attachment theory is of paramount importance when working with these children during their education.