11 June 2019
Children’s Minister Senator Sam Mézec has praised a group of young people and care-experienced adults for taking part in a national care conference, which has been described as “powerful and inspirational”.
Jersey’s new Children’s Rights Officer led a group of young people and care-experienced adults on a recent visit to a national care conference in Liverpool last month.
The Jersey group joined care-experienced people of all ages, from the UK, Ireland, and Australia, for the first time.
Sheree Maher, Jersey’s Children’s Rights Officer, said: “The Care Experience Conference was an incredible shared experience for the Jersey group. It was an opportunity to spend valuable time together and to really connect and learn from each other.
“To be there to experience the inaugural conference, being part of a community of 170-plus care-experienced people showing care, solidarity and support to each other was something very special.
“There was an overwhelming message that care-experienced people just want to be heard and to improve things so that in future children in care feel loved, valued and a have true sense of belonging.”
Some of the young people who attended the conference from Jersey said afterwards: “Hearing other people’s stories from around the UK made us feel very lucky with the care we have in Jersey compared to others. We heard stories from other young people, from the UK, who were treated quite badly so we feel lucky.”
Summing up the conference in one word, the young people said the event was: “Inspirational, insightful, uplifting, educational, positive and powerful.”
Children’s Minister Senator Sam Mezec said: “This was such an incredible opportunity for children and young people with care experience to meet together in the UK. I am delighted to hear that everyone who attended said it was a powerful and uplifting experience. This is a great opportunity to bring a group together, building on participation groups for children, young people and care experienced adults. I would like to thank all those who travelled to the conference and the Children’s Rights Officer for leading this trip.
“This builds on the promises we made in the Pledge, Common Strategic Policy and the Children and Young People’s Plan to ‘put children first’ and shows that we are listening directly to children and young people and involving them in how we design, deliver and review our services.”
The conference offered the care-experienced community the opportunity to consider, discuss and offer suggestions for issues related to care among themselves, without pressure or influence by professionals or other agencies.
Jersey’s Children’s Rights Officer is now planning a follow-up session with the group to share experiences and learn from this event.