Life as a care leaver
Life as a care leaver
Just before I turned 18 the Council’s care leaving team helped me sign up to the housing list and bid for a flat. After I got my flat at 18 they helped me by giving me a setting up home grant which is an amount of money given to me to buy furniture with. When I turned 20 they helped me by offering me an apprenticeship within the children’s social care team where I have gained new skills and will be getting an NVQ while getting paid. Alongside all of this I still get regular support from my personal advisor and meet them on a regular basis. The team has been amazing and have helped me to start my future and get it on a positive track. If it wasn’t for them I don’t know where I would be right now. I can never thank them enough.
The biggest challenges I face as a care leaver are the bad stereotypes that are out there about people who have been through the care system. The way members of the public view you differently for being a care leaver. Isolation is a big challenge even with people around you like friends and partners, I still feel alone because I feel like people won’t understand the impact growing up in care has had on me. Being brought up in a completely different upbringing like the care system I ended up feeling different and that doesn’t leave you just because you are a care leaver. Feeling like an outsider is a massive challenge sometimes I walk down the road and feel like everybody is staring at me and know that I am different. Another challenge is people’s understanding of why children become looked after children. having to be fully independent at 18 was a massive challenge, knowing I had no real back up option if anything went wrong with my flat and this is a challenge I still face now.
It would be helpful if the community and businesses could offer more opportunities to us as care leavers. We currently have a care leavers pizza evening once every two months at Urban Reef and this is a great experience. Giving us the chance to meet other people in similar situations who have more of an understanding of what it’s like to be a care leaver. Business and employees could help by understanding as a care leaver sometime we haven’t got the qualifications we need because during the time of us being at school some of us had so much going on in our own life’s, like going into care and getting separated from siblings that education was the last thing on our minds. But that doesn’t mean that we are not hard working.