A conversation between care leavers and Leap trainers with lived experience of the UK Care System
This podcast group is made up of six care leavers from across the UK between the ages
of 20-35 and two adults who currently work for Leap, one of whom experienced the
care system a few decades ago and has many years of experience of working with
young people and adults in the care system; and the other who also works in the care
system, as well as having experience of being a foster carer.
Care Experts Influencing the Care Review - Let's Talk Conflict
A group of young people and adults with experience of the care system share their experiences, reflections and priorities for the upcoming review of the care system in England.
This is the first episode of a new podcast called Let's Talk Conflict. Keep an eye on our social media @leap_cc and our YouTube for more episodes in Summer 2021!
Key Points from the Episode:
Our initial reactions to the announcement of the review (1:00 – 5:20)
- We welcome the care review, but it is overdue
- The care review brief looks good on paper but we are sceptical about whether it will be followed through
Don’t just put out fires, stop them from happening completely.
The positive changes we want to see in the care system: (5:20 - 26:10)
- Social workers need to realise we're in the same team and working together.
- Social workers play a vital role - but they need support and training; they need to feel they can care without being burnt out
- We recognise the pressure of the role: high case load, under supported, underpaid and inadequate training
- There needs to be more practical training for social workers, including around children with trauma, building healthy relationships and crisis prevention o Professionals need to feel safe and stable enough to be able to voice what needs to change, and to be able to build relationships.
- There needs to be standardised, mandatory training for PAs to be able to support care leavers to the level they need
- Access to support should be the same for everyone. It is currently a postcode lottery
- There needs to be more accountability to follow things through; accountability for complaints to be dealt with
- More focus on relationships and how to develop them with young people • Transparency
- Values based recruitment for social worker and foster carers • Prevention: supporting families before a crisis occurs
- Working to keep siblings together.
If you are too compassionate, too empathetic you get burnt out.
"Either I have to be really selfish, shut down my emotions and not see the young person and do my job, or if I do it the other way I get burnt out."
"I would like a limit on case numbers so social workers can afford to care without being burnt out."
"It's interesting that it's called the Care Review, because it seems 'care' is the part that this missing the most."
"If they trained the foster carers in safety, stability and love we’d have a much better time of it."
"Social workers need to start using their voice."
What changes do you want to see in the way young people are seen and treated? (26:10 – 39:24)
- Young people should be seen as equals
- We need to change the narrative around young people in care, including the negative expectations regarding achievement in schools and in life
- Schools and teachers need training on how to deal with young people in care • Social workers should take the time to get to know young people rather than just using what's being written about them. Take time to see things from the young person’s perspective
- Take more time to find out what makes a young person happy.
You want to be treated like you fit in rather than having to walk on eggshells
What changes do we want to see in the relationships between young people and carers, social workers and other professionals? (39:24 – 50:17)
- Greater authenticity in relationships: the professionals should have integrity and genuine intent to care for the young people
- More partnership working between young people, carers and professionals to achieve the same aim
- More open conversations should be had across the board
- We need to treat each other like human beings, building empathy and understanding and finding that common ground.
If we worked together, we could actually make a change.
We hope that by amplifying young people's voices and experiences, and communicating their priorities with those overseeing the Care Review, we can start to see better outcomes for young people in care and care leavers across the UK.
Stay tuned, we will be publishing the series later this Summer.