Southwark children in foster care spoke out to mark the launch of Foster Care Fortnight at the National Theatre on Monday.
Southwark young people in foster care speak out at the launch of Foster Care Fortnight
Focusing on this year's theme of fostering brighter futures, young people from Southwark Council's Speakerbox project performed four brief sketches on issues that need to be tackled to improve educational expectations and outcomes for looked-after children.
The sketches were watched by MP David Kidney, together with foster carers, social workers and other professionals from the field of fostering.
The Speakerbox group regularly gives input to shape Southwark's services for children in foster care. They recently laid out 'ten golden rules' for social workers, which have been ratified by Southwark's Corporate Parenting Board. (There are in fact 13 golden rules, but the group claims that as young people they are allowed to be inconsistent!).
Sarah, a care leaver involved in Speakerbox, said: “Being involved in the project is an excellent way of expressing my views and a way for people to hear the messages of young people in care. We are, after all, at the heart of the care system.
“I hope from watching our performance all those involved in fostering will understand better what it's like to be in foster care and recognise that we are all individuals.”
Caroline Essiet, children rights & participation co-ordinator at Southwark Council, said: "It's important that children and young people who are in foster care in Southwark can voice their opinions on the issues that matter to them, which is why we fully support the Speakerbox project. Listening to young people means we can improve our services and make sure that children in foster care have the best possible start in life. We're pleased to be supporting Foster Care Fortnight, which is a great way to raise awareness of the issues and the important work that foster carers do."
The Fostering Network's Ena Fry said: "When foster care works well it makes a real difference in the lives of some of society's most vulnerable children who cannot live with their own families. But unfortunately there are too many examples of children being let down by the system, with frequent changes of home and school making it harder for them to match the achievements of their peers.
"With the launch of this year's Foster Care Fortnight we hope to draw attention to the role foster carers play in the lives of fostered children and the need for more foster carers to come forward and foster brighter futures.”