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Calum's blog 

For Care Experienced History Month, we asked people to share what they want to see made history in the care system. Calum looks at the key relationships young people have, stigma, mental health and a support package for care leavers. 

Calum Lucas, 27, is in his first year studying journalism at De Montfort University, Leicester and hosts two evening shows on De Montfort University’s radio station, DemonFM. Here he shares what he wants to see made history in the care system for Care Experienced History Month.

Hey! I’m Cal, I’m 27 and I am a care leaver. As we observe and celebrate Care Experienced History Month this month, I want to reflect and give insight into my own views on the care system, nine years after leaving. I want to share my thoughts on what I believe should be made history, as well as spending a little time giving my views on what I hope to see for young people in the care system in the future.

Although my experience in the care system was a more positive one, contrary to the many negative stories you so often hear from young people who, for their own reasons, had negative experiences. That said, my experience in care did not come without its challenges, which often fell to the fact I did not feel supported enough by my care staff, by social services, by anyone. I had support, but I did not often feel supported a perfect example of how care professionals and social workers promising support or to action various things to help young people further their lives, but do not always follow that through. It all just turns into words.

Another big reason for that was because although openly gay, I was facing my own mental health battles in trying to come to terms with and learn what it meant to me to be gay and in care, learning the double stigma that is faced alongside this, whilst also learning how to adapt to all the big changes in my life that seemed to be happening so quickly.

Although for the most part, my experience in care was mostly positive, I realise – and am very aware – that for most young people facing life in the care system that is often not the case, which leads me nicely into explaining what I would like to see made history within the system as well as my hopes on what I would like to see happen going forward.

I want to see less stigma, I want to see members of care staff and social workers encouraging and supporting young people to spread the awareness of what it is like to be in care, with less emphasis from staff on paperwork and sitting in offices and more support for young care-experienced people.

Finally, I want to see the Government introduce a proper support package for care leavers, detailing issues such as credit ratings, housing and accessing financial services as well as food banks. This will ensure care leavers have adequate support to face the challenges of the real world that are rarely taught in care.

Calum’s blog for CEHM

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