“I want to go back into schools and talk to kids that are going through what I went through. I want to tell them that they are not wired or alone. I want them to know that every day is different, and healing can be slow, but you will get to a place that is calmer, safer and free from violence in the end. I want to give them that hope, and tell them my story so they can see themselves in my story.”
Care experienced young person.
Leicestershire Cares has been working with care experienced young people on our VRN project, Free From Violence. The project has used a youth lead co-production approach to decided what direction the project has taken. The care experienced young people (ceyp) found common ground in their experiences of violence at school due to being a looked after child.
The ceyp decided that they wanted to offer help and advice to looked after children in schools who might be being bullied, and also offer guidance and knowledge to members of staff at schools. The ceyp found that they had very different experiences of support from teachers and school, and that some were more positive than others.
The ceyp identified that they needed more knowledge about anti bullying procedures in school and definitions and classification of bullying, if they were going to create a resource that would be suitable to be used in schools.
In the ceyp’s research into this topic, they discovered Leicestershire County Council’s Anti Bullying Strategy Team’s website and found that their information was out of date for looked after children. We approached the Anti Bullying Strategy Team to set up a knowledge sharing workshops where the ceyp could learn more about school anti bullying protocols and the strategy team could hear the ceyp thoughts.
As a result of the workshop the plan is now to produce new content for the council’s Beyond Bullying website focusing on children in care and further down the line, hopefully to provide training to schools designated safeguarding leads
Listening to other people that have had similar life experiences to me has really helped me. I don’t feel as alone.
Looked after children need positive relationships with influential people in their lives, and at that age it’s your school teachers.
We know teachers are only human, and just like everyone else, often don’t know how to act towards people that are different to them, but they need to engage with us (ceyp). They can’t just gloss over us and hope that someone else will deal with us.
When I was at school and being bullied because I was in care, teachers would ignore my pleads for help. I ended up being so angry because no one was listening, that I hit a teacher. It was only then that things were taken seriously.
Because of the way we have been brought up, we’re not taught how to navigate societal norms through parenting and a stable family. We can be a bit awkward and “odd” seeming and because of this it signals us out as different and therefore something to pick on. We are not your lunch break entertainment. Our “drama” is our lives.
I want to go back into schools and talk to kids that are going through what I went through. I want to tell them that they are not wired or alone. I want them to know that every day is different, and healing can be slow, but you will get to a place that is calmer, safer and free from violence in the end. I want to give them that hope, and tell them my story so they can see themselves in my story.This case study has been pulled together from several young people’s experiences while taking part on this project
Our work with care experienced young people
- Find out about the work we do with care experienced young people: mental wellbeing, employment and training, campaigning for Care Leavers rights, building social connection.
- Sign our Promise to Care
- Hear the voices of care experienced young people in our Podcasts
- Taking Hold of Our Heritage project. Get a digital download of the book
For more information about our work with care experienced young people, please contactJacob Brown: email@example.com