social services

Young people of colour in care

I’d say from around year 3 (8 years old) I could remember strange grown-ups coming round to my house and agitating my mum and dad. I can remember having briefings with my parents on what I could and couldn’t say to these strangers and the knowledge that if I failed in these duties that I would likely be taken away from my parents with my siblings, and that we would be separated after that to live with different people. I can remember a big argument one of these strangers had with my dad that culminated in two security guards accompanying that particular stranger on all subsequent visits. This stranger was one that had become a somewhat permanent fixture in my young life, and I remember being interviewed by her in a separate room and telling her very little about what was actually going on and anything I did say was positive. It was ‘Us’ against ‘them’.

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We all have a right to good mental health

You undergo many changes when transitioning from foster child to care leaver when you turn 18. Social workers turn into PAs (Personal Advisors). You are expected to rely on the welfare state if not in employment or student loans and grants if you are at university. You also grow up extremely quickly. By the age of 19, I had my own flat and was living alone.

It was shortly after moving in that I had my first mental health breakdown. Due to moving ‘out of borough’, the therapies that I had waited a year to access were stopped at my most vulnerable point. Since I was a new patient in that area, it meant that I had to join the back of the queue for help all over again

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From Care to Career – the long way to sustainable employment

I am number 4 of 5 children my mother had with my father. My father had 13 children in total of which I was number 9. My mother made the decision for me to come and live with family friends in England as a bid to give me a ‘better life’ based on my family circumstances at the time. I came to England in 2002 and I lived in South London with this family for almost 8 years. The first 4 years of living with them, I was not allowed out of the house and was not allowed traditional education but was merely acting as the family’s live-in au-pair. I endured countless amounts of physical, emotional and mental abuse whilst living with the family.

I had no friends and no family to confide in. As I got older, I could not take it anymore which led to me running away and reporting my situation to the police. The police introduced me to Merton social services who supported me for most of my early adult years from 2010 until I finished university in 2019.

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Will Brexit create a new ‘Windrush generation’?

Care-experienced young people from the EU who have not had applications made on their behalf to remain in the UK after Brexit are at risk of becoming “undocumented” adults. After 30th June 2021, these people will find themselves living in the UK unlawfully, without the right to work, claim benefits, rent a home, hold a bank account, access further education, and could face deportation.

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Accessing mental health services shouldn’t be a luxury

In National Care Leavers’ Week, we want to shed light onto specific issues which disproportionately affect care-experienced people; from the unnecessary criminalisation of looked-after children, to youth mental health, to stigma and discrimination, housing, and to a general lack of training and support for people working in the sector. We passionately believe that children and

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Why employers should See Potential in care leavers

Mark Riddell MBE, Department for Education’s National Implementation Advisor for care leavers     The Department for Work and Pensions has been focusing on care leavers as part of its See Potential campaign. The campaign encourages employers to recognise the benefits of recruiting people from all kinds of backgrounds. I was in a care home

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