At CREATE we want to hear about children and young people’s experiences of being in care.
We want to hear about what isn’t working so we can advocate for change.
We also want to hear about what does work for children and young people so we know what it looks like when things are working well.
CREATE Youth Advisory Groups are regular meetups where young people can talk about their experiences, develop self-confidence, and advocate for change!
Recently in NSW CREATE held an amazing Youth Advisory Group session where we got SO MUCH feedback from our members about CREATE and the care system
Young people shared their thoughts on the #make it21 campaign, a campaign to ensure young people with a care experience have a home supported by the care system until 21 years of age:
‘I like the idea of moving out at 18 I should be able to do what I like. I also like the idea of 21 like if you are not ready you should have support. It’s a safety net you should be able to choose if you want to go back”
“The government is still responsible for making sure that if you are leaving independently that they have got the right vocational support and the right people to give you support around budgeting or anything else that you might need and you also have the support of the carers if you need to go back.”
“Extend it for whole life and we get to choose when to leave. There should be no pressure and force to pack up and leave.”
“It should also be if the young person wants to move out which is like totally fine it’s like they are getting up to 21 I don’t know how to word this but carer should help support the young person into independent living.”
“I think if you stay in care a little longer it can help you financially and physically.”
“People in foster care are just expected to grow up at 18.”
Young people at the YAG also discussed the issue of building a relationship with their caseworkers. Most stated that they found it difficult to build a trusting/positive relationship due to high turnover rates.
Some young people said that sometimes they are hesitant to build a relationship in fear of changing caseworkers:
“It’s hard because you don’t know if you can trust them when you first get a caseworker you just have to build on the trust. and the relationship”
“When I am going to see my family sometimes it’s one person then it’s a different person, and I think do I want to trust this guy and sometimes I think is she or he going take me gonna take me because if she is I’m more than happy to jump out of the car and runaway”
“I like to get to know them and I like them to get to know me, it’s much easier when that happens”
One young person stated that it generally takes 3-4 weeks to start building a relationship with a caseworker.
“It’s really hard to build relationships with them honestly because you don’t know what happens you tend to get so many of them leaving and you get a new one.”
Most young people present shared their passion to advocate for a positive change in the OOHC system and expressed their genuine appreciation for CREATE’s efforts in giving them the opportunity of being part of the change.
“It was my 18th it was a special occasion but also I just want to say thank you to CREATE for sending out these little cards and everything cause you know, my birthday was in isolation and I know some people may not gifts but then you get that little card in the mail with that little balloon and that’s just really nice and I’ve been getting them for a few years now so thank you.”
“I love CREATE and the work you do and I don’t mind traveling to your programs even when it takes over 3 hours for me to get home. May I please request that you continue to hold Online YAGS post lockdown as sometimes I have Uni and I am unable to travel”
“CREATE provides a safe place for young people with care experiences to come together and speak about what matters to them and what they believe needs to be fixed, giving them a voice in the way the system is handled in the future. For others, it also provides a place to find friends and encourage others to follow their dreams.”