National Care Leavers’ Week 2017

Hot on the heels of National Adoption Week, National Care Leavers’ Week is running from October 25th to November 3rd. Receiving far less coverage than National Adoption Week, I would argue that National Care Leavers’ Week needs and deserves more attention, primarily because we all have a role and responsibility as corporate parents. But I guess hormonal teenagers suffering trauma are less media friendly than cute toddlers or adorable sibling groups.

I’m not going to lecture people on what they should be doing, because I’m definitely not doing enough. I’m also not sure what I really could or should be doing.

But two messages filtered through to me from the discussion on social media (because National Care Leavers’ Week doesn’t seem to have gained wider media coverage, or certainly nowhere near the attention National Adoption Week receives).

1. The term ‘care leavers’

It struck me this week that the term is awful. I would hope it’s a misnomer, but I’m not convinced it is. These young people shouldn’t be leaving care. They may be leaving a specific form of care, but they are not (or should not) be cut off from care. We should still care about their outcomes and how they can be positively helped.

Just because a young person reaches their 18th birthday doesn’t mean they can do it on their own. Very few people are – at any age – but care experienced young people may, arguably, be even less prepared.

2. Every Child Leaving Care Matters

Every. Child. Leaving. Care. Matters.

No exceptions.

Children in foster homes can stay until they are 21, while those in residential children’s homes are only given until they are 18. This is clear discrimination. ECLCM is a campaign group, without funding or political affiliations with any other group, formed to stop Government discrimination against children in residential care who want support to 21, the same as those in foster care.

ECLCM ask all those who share their view to support their campaign for equality. It is the least we can do for our children. If you share this view, please sign and share the ECLCM petition.