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Jessica-Rae's blog 

For Care Experienced History Month, we asked people to share what they want to see made history in the care system.

Jessica-Rae Williamson, 20, a media studies student at Salford University, shares what she wants to see made history.

Raising awareness about the care system is something I’m dedicated to doing all year round, but April is an important month as it’s Care Experienced History Month. It’s a time to reflect on the history of the care system, how things have changed since the days of stories such as Oliver Twist and think about what we hope will be history one day.

Real change started in 1989 when the Children’s Act was made to reform local authority services for children in need. Since then, more laws such as the Leaving Care Act have been put in place to protect children and offer those in care a better quality of life, but it’s still not enough. There are probably a hundred things I wish would be history about the system, but I’ll focus on the points I hold closest to my heart.

The care cliff is an issue nobody can ignore; the idea that as soon as anybody turns 18, or in some cases 16, they’re ready for independence is delusional. Yes, some people might be ready for adulthood but in most cases the care leavers who are ready only feel that way because they never knew what childhood was like, and just because we might be ready doesn’t mean we should be forced into it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it every time I talk about the care cliff, if anybody else abandoned their child the day they turned 18 they would be called a bad parent, so why is it totally okay for the government to do it?

Another thing that I hope will be history in the care system is the lack of consistency for our cared for children, whether that be with policies, families, or key workers. I’ve heard from young people who have had 20+ social workers or foster families, and it’s simply not good enough. It’s very rare that a cared for child has a single consistent person through their care journey, and it’s sad to think that we’re left so alone. I understand people change jobs, and that there’s a lack of foster families in the UK, but I truly believed that if the government cared more about fighting the stereotypes that prevent people wanting to work and care for foster children, the issue would improve.

I could talk forever about the things I hope will be history, but I’ll end with one of my favourite sayings: ‘you can tell a lot about a country by how it treats its most vulnerable’, and who are more vulnerable than the children left with nobody.

Jessica-Rae’s blog for CEHM
2 responses

  1. Anastasia says:

    April 4, 2024 at 11:21 pm

    Jessica good evening
    I am interested to know more, I have only sent you a short message. I was in care from two weeks old. What’s your experience?
    Kind regards
    Anastasia 🌻

  2. Kirsten Graver replied:

    April 11, 2024 at 5:08 pm

    Hi Anastasia, Thank you for your reply. Here is a link to Jess’s blog where you can find more information. Jess is also happy for people to reach out to her with questions too. Thank you 🙂

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