20 May 2021

Care experienced young people share their concerns about stigma during Foster Care Fortnight

The care experienced Young People’s Organising and Campaigning (YPOC) Group who work alongside Aberdeenshire Council’s Children’s Services staff to highlight the issues that matter to them are picking up stigma as part of their next campaign.

The group has already run several campaigns using their own experiences to help other care experienced young people and has shared a number of videos on the council website. They say turning their attention to the stigma that surrounds being looked after is an important part of supporting and enabling others coming into care to grow and thrive without being judged or stereotyped.

Lauren Barrie, one of the young people representing the YPOC Group explains: “Raising awareness of the fact that stigma surrounds children and young people in care is the first step in tackling it. Many people have unconscious bias so it’s about educating people so that they understand why we come into care and what it’s like. We need to get to the point where we can explain our care experience without people making assumptions about us.

“Foster Care Fortnight is a good time to highlight the incredible impact those who support care experienced young people can make. We hope this will support foster families as well who may at times find stigma gets in the way.”

Virtual Head Teacher Emma Allen who works on behalf of around 400 care experienced children and young people across Aberdeenshire to ensure they have access to opportunities and all the support they need is 100% behind them.

Emma says: “We are committed to keeping ‘The Promise’ to care experienced children and young people and part of this is about addressing stigma. There is so much work planned for the coming weeks, months and years and this is all about services working closely together to ensure care experienced children and young people are given all the support they need to thrive.”

Cllr Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee is pleased young people are taking this brave step to highlight the issue of stigma. She adds: “It’s easy to make assumptions and I think this is a great reminder to us all to take a step back and really think about how we interact with children and young people. Our YPOC Group has some really powerful messages and I think it’s especially important if you work with children and young people, as well as for the wider public, to watch these videos and better understand their point of view.”

The YPOC Group is hoping to add their ‘Coming Into Care’ video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chthUvhTHkg – to Aberdeenshire’s time capsule being saved for future generations to find out what life was like during the pandemic and what mattered most to children and young people.

You can have a look at a new portal which is in development to support care experienced young people and the adults who support them at. This is being co-created by adults alongside children and young people: http://www.aberdeenshire.community/KMS/dmart.aspx?LoggingIn=tempVar&strTab=PartnersTimeLine

Find out more about fostering in Aberdeenshire at: http://bit.ly/AbshireFoster For more information or if you would like an information pack, please contact fostering.befriending@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or 01467 532700.