Advocacy and Communications Officer Peter Melrose is visiting the UK and Ireland as part of CREATE’s overseas exchange program to visit different advocacy organisations similar to CREATE. Peter will be sharing findings from his journey via regular updates on CREATE’s blog.
Hi it’s Peter from CREATE! My trip overseas for the CREATE Exchange Program to the UK started this week and I thought I would let you all know what this will entail. CREATE is participating in an exchange program with sister organisations in the UK so that we can learn from each other and improve our advocacy work with children and young people with a care experience. I will meet with the following agencies around the UK who are similar to CREATE:
- VOYPIC | Find out more here
- EPIC | Find out more here
It’s a massive trip! It will be great to see what these different organisations do and what we might be able to learn for what CREATE can do in Australia! I will be learning how our sister organisations engage with young people and advocate on both systems and individual levels. More broadly I will also be learning about the idea of ‘corporate parenting’ and child protection systems over there more broadly. The care systems in Ireland and the UK are very different to ours.
In Australia, we have about 5 million children under 18 years. There are 48,000 children and young people in out-of-home care.
In England, there are over 11 million children under the age of 18 years. Of these, there are 72,000 children and young people in care.
In Scotland there are over 1 million children and young people and they have 15,300 in care.
In Northern Ireland has 430,000 children and young people under 18 and there are about 2,900 children and young people in care.
Ireland has 1.6 million children and young people (under 25 years) and has 6,230 children and young people in care.
That’s about 96,500 children and young people in care across those jurisdictions (90,200 in the UK alone). That’s more than the population of Launceston in TAS, Albury Wodonga in VIC or Armadale in WA. It’s twice the size of Port Macquarie in NSW or Mackay in QLD.
In the UK they talk about Looked After Children, which refers to all children and young people needing a child protection service. Also, in the UK it can be harder to differentiate between all children and young people on a child protection order and those in out of home care because the way the orders work there is different.
In the first part of this week I will meet with some of the workers at Siblings United in London to learn more about what they do, before leaving on Wednesday 9th May for Glasgow.
First up in Glasgow I will with young people from Who Cares? Scotland. They have a group called ‘Young Radicals” similar to our YAG.
Whilst I am in Glasgow I will be meeting with Who Cares? Scotland CEO Duncan Dunlop. On Friday, I will be learning about 1000 voices, an amazing project run by Who Cares? Scotland all about the Scottish parliament actually listening to young people in care, check it out here: https://www.whocaresscotland.org/what-we-do/campaigns/1000-voices/
Next week I to the north of Scotland to a place called Iverness. Here I will meet with the Advocacy and Participation Manager of their northern region and I will see how they engage young people in advocacy.
I will then head back to Glasgow to meet with the Senior Management Team as well as Thomas and Cheryl-Ann, who visited with us for our CREATE International Conference last year.
On 16th May I travel them from Glasgow to Belfast via Dublin, then a bus to Belfast to meet with VOYPIC. I am hoping to spend some time in some of their more regional areas as well. I will get to meet young people in Belfast and am looking forward to hearing about the amazing work they do there. I will also be visiting Derry and Ballymena where VOYPIC also have offices.
After Belfast it’s off to Dublin to meet with EPIC on 23rd May. EPIC also have some regional offices which I hope to visit as well. I will be meeting loads of young people and staff from EPIC and also VOYPIC while in Northern Ireland and Ireland.
I will be providing regular updates and information about the trip to keep everyone informed.