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Children’s charity begins preparations for Care Day 2024

Become, the children’s charity who have been leading the campaign since 2015, have announced that this year they will be sharing messages from children with lived experience of the care system in a bid to end negative stigma and stereotypes.

Taking place on the third Friday in February every year, Care Day is the world’s biggest celebration of children and young people with care experience. This year, Become have launched a new campaign which will see people all across the UK upload a selfie onto X (formally known as Twitter), with the hashtag ‘CAREDAY24’ written on their palm, and where they’re from underneath.

photo of two man and one woman standing near tree

In addition, the children’s charity will also be screening two short films in parliament on 19th March that showcase how damaging it can be to move children miles away from their homes. Become will be showing the film ‘Raw Good’s, which was made by Hackney Tomorrow and follows a teenager in care who is moved to somewhere they are extremely unfamiliar with. 

The second film that will be screened at the House of Lords is ‘Gone Too Far’ which asks members of the public how they would feel if they were forced to move far away from the people and places they love.

This message is being broadcasted so heavily as a result of children in care being shipped miles from their loved ones despite the government and local authorities promising to keep them closer to home. According to recent figures, both the number and the percentage of children in care in England placed more than 20 miles from home increased every year from 2012-21, while numbers also increased from 2021-22.

As of 31st March 2022, over 16,000 children – which equates to 20.7% of the care population in this country – were placed more than 20 miles from home, compared with 10,540 a decade earlier.

Katherine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become said: ‘Care Day is a time to celebrate and stand with care-experienced children and young people in our communities. With record numbers of children in care and far too many of them being let down by a care system that is not meeting their needs, public support is needed now more than ever. 

‘Care should be a place of stability and security, where children can recover from their past trauma and thrive. But with not enough suitable children’s homes or foster homes where they can live, children are being placed miles away from the people and places that matter to them. To then face stigma from having been in care is another challenge care-experienced young people are having to face every day.’

‘We know with the right support that children can have the future they want,’ Katherine added. ‘That’s why on Care Day we’re putting our hands up for care-experienced young people, to challenge common misconceptions and – especially in the year of an election – call on the public and MPs to show they care.’

Last year, Become took a similar approach and launched the scheme ‘What I want you to know about care’, which saw over 300 care-experienced people share what they wanted the general public to know about the care system. The messages reached over 2 million individuals and the charity is looking for a similar outcome in 2024.

‘Care Day is a powerful testament to the resilience and courage of those who have navigated difficult times,’ said Amir, 23, who is young care-experienced person. ‘Through sharing experiences and stories, we can break down the barriers of stigma, promote a culture of empathy and understanding, and provide a nurturing environment for every child in care.’

Amir added: ‘Looking ahead, we urge the next government to prioritise robust support systems, equal access to education, and a firm commitment to provide every child in care with the care and attention they deserve.’

Images: Become and Nathan Anderson and Stavrialena Gontzou

More on this topic:

More children in care could return to their families with better support, survey shows

Children in care moved quarter of a million times in four years

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