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Slaney Slay's blog 

For Care Experienced History Month, we asked people to share what they want to see made history in the care system. Slaney talks about ending the secrecy around personal records and inappropriate foster placement matching.

Slaney Slay, 29, is a TikTok influencer from Surrey. Here she shares what she wants to see made history in the care system for Care Experienced History Month.

Every child deserves stability, love, and a nurturing environment to thrive. The importance of matching children in foster care to the right foster carers cannot be denied. Every child comes with a different background, experiences, and beliefs. Placing them with foster carers who can meet these specific needs is essential for their emotional well-being and development. This includes teenagers who are often overlooked. The role of a foster carer goes beyond providing basic carefor some they are advocates, mentors, and sources of unconditional love. 

Placement stability is vital. Every move I experienced felt disruptive and heightened my feelings of rejection. From the foster carer who kept the bathroom and the kitchen locked, to the carer who would not let me in the home during the daytime to the carer who decided teenagers weren’t for her after all, these mis-matchings led to six foster placements in two years. 

Each child in foster care also has their own life story, one that is documented in their foster care records; however, these records are often shrouded in secrecy and are inaccessible to the child until they turn 18. While for some documents this may be appropriate, many children report when they finally access their records, information is wrong and cannot be corrected. This often causes detrimental effects. 

At the age of fourteen, I tried cannabis twice. I hated it and never tried another drug again. I mentioned this to one of my social workers, unaware she would write ‘frequent cannabis misuse’ in my records. Years later, when I became a parent, this led to unjust stigma from social services. If I’d been able to see the document before it was added to my file permanently, I could have amended its accuracy and prevented unwarranted judgement. 

Providing children in foster care with the opportunity to read certain documents in their foster care records and sign their consent to specific details within them is equally important. It grants foster youth with a sense of control and ownership over their own narrative, allowing them to understand their history and make informed decisions about their future. By respecting our voices and perspectives, our experiences are validated and promote a culture of care and transparency within the system. 

By prioritising appropriate placement matching and granting consent over certain records, we create a foundation of trust, stability, and dignity for these children. We can ensure their individual needs are met, their voices are heard, and their rights are respected throughout their journey. 

Slaney Slay’s blog for CEHM

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