New Advocacy Phone Support Service

New Advocacy Phone Support Service In response to our current circumstances we are pleased to announce the launch of our dedicated Advocacy Phone Support Service, for Children in Care and Care Leavers on 01-9631272 The line will be open 2 days a week on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 2-4 pm, from Tuesday 31st of March. This service is being offered to provide those in care and with care experience direct access to an Advocacy Officer to support them with any queries or concerns that may arise for them during this time. We are mindful that calls to landlines may be expensive for children and care leavers. If you can’t call us directly, but would like a call back, please send us a private message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and ask for a call back from an Advocacy Officer.  Important:  NEVER leave your phone number, name or address in a public post on social media. Use a private message only. Please note that call-backs will only be made between 2-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 01-9631272 Open Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2pm-4pm....

EPIC services in response to COVID-19 guidance

Following all HSE and government guidelines with regard to the COVID-19 crisis, EPIC will continue to provide services as normal, as far as possible, given the restrictions set by these guidelines. The EPIC Crisis Communication Team is continuously monitoring the ongoing situation, as it affects our services, and will respond and adapt as necessary, placing the best interests of the children and young people we serve at the centre of all decisions made. In the event that we have to close any of our offices, we have contingency plans in place for our team to work remotely and all of our staff will be contactable by email and phone at all...

Concerned about the Corona Virus?

Concerned about the Corona Virus? In response to concerns expressed by Young People to members of the EPIC team, about the threat of Corona Virus (COVID-19) here are some practical steps to take, to protect yourself and others. We encourage you to follow the hand washing technique recommended in this Video For younger children, this PDF booklet and workbook on the Corona Virus can be downloaded and printed, to help them understand and work through any worries they may have.   Download Children's Booklet Watch Video I have been to an affected region in the last 14-days I’ve been in close contact with a confirmed case I’ve been in close contact with a probable case I HAVE symptoms 1.Stay away from other people, do not come to work. 2.Phone your GP without delay. 3.If you do not have a GP phone 999. 4.Do not attend a hospital or GP clinic unless instructed to do so. 1.Stay away from other people, do not come to work. 2.Phone your GP without delay. 3.If you do not have a GP phone 999. 4.Do not attend a hospital or GP clinic unless instructed to do so. 1.Stay away from other people, do not come to work. 2.Phone your GP without delay. 3.If you do not have a GP phone 999. 4.Do not attend a hospital or GP clinic unless instructed to do so. I DO NOT HAVE symptoms No restrictions are necessary, go about your daily routine as normal. You may be required to self-isolate. Check with your health care provider. Work from home unless you develop symptoms. No restrictions are necessary unless:   a)your healthcare provider recommends...

EPIC Chief Executive Officer Vacancy

EPIC Chief Executive Officer JOB DESCRIPTION            What We Do EPIC Empowering People In Care (EPIC) aims to advance the interests and welfare of children and young people in the care system by advocating on their behalf, providing information and advice, providing opportunities for participation and influencing through regional and national councils and developing policies on and conducting research into issues affecting children and young people in the care system. For the past twenty one years, the focus of our work is to improve the lived experience of children and young people in the care system and positively contribute to the development of care services locally, nationally and internationally for the benefit of children and young people, their families and the professionals who work with them. What We Are Looking For We are looking for a highly motivated efficient and strategic leader who can lead EPIC into the next phase of our development and growth. The role requires strategic thinking as well as an ability to drive the operational performance of EPIC. Working with a small team and stakeholders, the role requires a flexible and ‘can do’ attitude. You will have experience in leading small and agile organisations, an understanding of the children and young people in care and aftercare, with a strong track record of diversifying income streams. You will be able to demonstrate excellent understanding of the power of advocacy, communication and campaigns focused on a changed care system that better meets the needs of all children and young people in care. You will be comfortable in bringing the message of EPIC’s work to a wider audience....

#CAREDAY20 – A Global Celebration of Children in Care

Press Release February 21st 2020 #CareDay20 A GLOBAL CELEBRATION OF CHILDREN IN CARE – FEBRUARY 21st, 2020 Get Vocal, Get Social, Get Involved Care Day is the world’s largest celebration of children and young adults in care or with care experience. This community of children and young adults deserve to be celebrated, on Care Day, and every day! EPIC is hosting a range of events around the country to celebrate children and young people in our care community. Check it out on https://careday.org/ Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said: “EPIC is delighted to be celebrating Care Day 2020 on the 21st of February. It is an initiative of the ‘5 Nations 1 Voice Alliance’ – an alliance made up of five children’s rights charities across the U.K. and Ireland: Become in England, EPIC in Ireland, VOYPIC in Northern Ireland, Voices from Care in Wales, and Who Cares? Scotland. This year we are also joined in our celebrations by Finland, Spain, Croatia, Romania, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Australia. It is such an exciting and positive day internationally, and each year it is growing. Care Day is a day where we are asking you to show your support, get vocal, get social and get involved in celebrating the successes and positive achievements of all children and young adults in care or with care experience.” EPIC is delighted that Care Day 2020 will be formally launched by Tusla’s Child and Family Agency’s CEO, Bernard Gloster, from St. Laurence’s Church TU Dublin, Grangegorman, City Campus, from 10am to 12 noon. Be part of changing the story for children and young people in care...

The Care Experience Podcast

The Care Experience Podcast is explores the experiences of people who grew up in the care system from all over the world. It is presented by a care-leaver Thomas Mongan and an Advocate Peter Lane. It is brought to you by EPIC empowering people in care, an Irish Advocacy and Participation Charity. The Podcast aims to raise awareness and fight stigma by giving a platform to people who know the most about the care-system: the people who experienced it first hand. Episode 6 - Feb 20th 2020 In this episode of The Care Experience, Thomas and Peter visit the Headquarters of the Irish Child and Family Agency, TUSLA. They have a candid and frank discussion with TUSLA CEO, Bernard Gloster about what is going well in the Irish Care System and what is not going so well. They discuss the aftercare service, fostering and homelessness. They also talk about the need for kindness and creativity to be part of children in care’s life. Episode 4 - Feb 16th 2020 This podcast contains an interview with the Irish Times columnist Patrick Freyne about media bias and stereotyping. There is also an interview with Australian Activist and Care-Leaver, Leilani Houston about the Australian care system. Episode 3 - Feb 13th 2020 In this episode, Thomas and Peter interview Suzanne O’ Brien about the EPIC Youth Council and the work that they do. There is also an in depth discussion with Dutch Play-wright and Care-leaver about her work with young people understanding and getting through their trauma using the means of drama. Episode 2 - Feb 12th 2020 In this episode, Thomas...

Press Release – EPIC’s manifesto for the next Programme for Government 2020

Press Release Monday February 3rd 2020 EPIC’s Manifesto for the next Programme for Government 2020 6 ways to stop failing children and young people in state care #GE2020 #EPICManifesto With the general election less than a week away - we need to make sure that the next government does much more for children in the care system. We are calling on all those who will be elected to the 33rd Dail to prioritise children in care and with care experience in the next Programme for Government. Please share our Election Manifesto and get behind us in promoting our key asks. EPIC is calling for: 1. The Right to Independent Advocacy: All children in care and with care experience should have a right to independent advocacy. The right to independent advocacy for all children and young adults in the care system must be enshrined in legislation. The current review of the Child Care Act 1991 presents the optimal time for this. 2. To Extend the Age Limit for Aftercare: EPIC calls for a full review of the Aftercare system including the extension of the upper age limit for aftercare support to 26 years of age. 3. To Improve Data Collation: Increase data collated and published on children in care and include a longitudinal study on children in care into adulthood. Data on educational outcomes for children in care from primary, secondary, post leaving cert and 3rd level education is essential. This data should be benchmarked against children and young people in the general population to see where additional supports are needed to improve outcomes of children in care and beyond....

EPIC’s manifesto for the next Programme for Government 2020-6 ways to stop failing children and young people in state care

EPIC’s Manifesto for the next Programme for Government 2020 6 ways to stop failing children and young people in state care #GE2020 #EPICManifesto EPIC is calling for: 1. The Right to Independent Advocacy: All children in care and with care experience should have a right to independent advocacy. The right to independent advocacy for all children and young adults in the care system must be enshrined in legislation. The current review of the Child Care Act 1991 presents the optimal time for this. 2. To Extend the Age Limit for Aftercare: EPIC calls for a full review of the Aftercare system including the extension of the upper age limit for aftercare support to 26 years of age. 3. To Improve Data Collation: Increase data collated and published on children in care and include a longitudinal study on children in care into adulthood. Data on educational outcomes for children in care from primary, secondary, post leaving cert and 3rd level education is essential. This data should be benchmarked against children and young people in the general population to see where additional supports are needed to improve outcomes of children in care and beyond. 4. To Improve Mental Health Support: All children and young adults in care must be provided with a variety of dedicated mental health supports, including therapeutic support, to enable them to deal with their experience of trauma and to help them to build appropriate coping skills and resilience. The State must provide all necessary supports and interventions within the state and immediately stop sending children and young people outside of this jurisdiction for specialist care. Dual supports to...

20 Years of EPIC: A Social Workers’ Reflection

It’s our 20th Anniversary and we are celebrating 20 years of being EPIC by posting articles every month about EPIC. This month is an article written by Aoife Gilligan Quinn   It was a role as a mental health and criminal justice advocacy worker in London which lead me to choose to become a social worker. Many of the adults I worked with had grown up in care, or had contact with Social Workers as children. I saw the value of independent advocacy in supporting people to feel heard, and to assert their rights, and I wanted to do this same work, but with children and young people, so that they might access the right supports, at the right time, and avoid the difficult road faced by the adults I met in London. I trained away from home but came back to Dublin and spent ten years working as a social worker for children in care and their families in Dublin. Joining the board of EPIC has afforded me the privilege of continuing to have an input into advocacy for children and young people in care. I have been delighted by the young people I have encountered, and their fierce determination to drive improvements to the system of care in Ireland, and to ensure that every care experienced child and young person in Ireland is supported to assert their rights. As a social worker, the sight of EPIC information on display when I visited with children and young people in their homes always brought a sense of relief. It was a simple indication that children were aware of, and...

Invaluable work of the Child Care Law Reporting Project raises major concerns

EPIC- Empowering People in Care congratulate the Child Care Law Reporting Project and welcome their report published today. This project provides invaluable insight and important focus on some of the difficulties that children in care and their families face when going through court proceedings. Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, speaking about the report said: “EPIC has on many occasions, and over a period of years raised the importance and urgency of ensuring we can properly care for all our young people in care with complex needs and mental health issues, in Ireland. It’s simply not acceptable that we continue to send children and young adults abroad for specialist intervention that should properly be available to them in Ireland and we must cease this practice and instead focus on developing our own services and facilities to provide appropriate support to those children and young adults who require it.  Furthermore, it is unacceptable that some children must be made wards of court in order to receive out of state care and our mental health legislation must be reviewed as a matter of urgency to ensure this requirement is removed. The next Government should make this a principle focus.” Special Care can be a highly effective intervention and therefore it is necessary that efforts be increased to ensure that the full capacity of beds be operational, and the 58 available posts are filled. As part of this there must be more step-down accommodation available. Glen Alainn as one example, a step-down unit that is currently open, is not being maximised, and more such units must be established. Importantly, we must ensure that...

Next year EPIC will be 21

Independent advocacy is a process of helping children to express themselves and make changes. It empowers children to ensure their rights are respected, and their views and wishes are heard at all times and is a means of achieving social justice because ‘everyone matters, and everyone is heard’. Independent Advocacy in Child Protection - Guidance for Policy Makers (National Children’s Bureau 2013)   EPIC was formally founded twenty years ago, and in that time has grown from an organisation of just three people providing independent advocacy to children and young adults in North Dublin, to a service providing direct one to one advocacy and participation programmes nationally, with offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick. The past 20 years of this EPIC journey has been one of discovery, often challenging, sometimes arduous, but always driven by a passion and commitment to ensure that children and young people were given a voice, that their voice was heard, and that they could participate in and influence decisions being made about them and also effect change in the care system, to ensure the lived experience of all children and young people in care will be a positive one. The work of EPIC is predicated on the belief that independent advocacy and participation for children in care, is an integral part of our child protection and welfare system and the belief that it will be recognized as such. While it’s fair to say that we are not there yet in achieving this recognition, we believe that we have made considerable progress in reaching this objective. Advocacy is relatively new to Ireland and still...

EPIC’s plea to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs – a Christmas Wish List

Press Release Download PDF EPIC’s plea to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs – an open letter: All I want for Christmas - A Christmas Wish List Dec 19th 2019 EPIC’s plea to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs – an open letter All I want for Christmas - A Christmas Wish List EPIC-Empowering People In Care, received with disbelief the news that the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, and her department, had returned almost €60 million to the exchequer unspent. It might be argued that current financial procedures within government mean that underspends within any budget cannot be re-allocated. We believe that such an enormous amount of money should not be returned to the exchequer when so many children and young adults are in desperate need of services that they can’t access due to lack of adequate resources and significant underfunding. They should be entitled to an explanation from the Minister as to why they are being left in dire need when money was available to address this. We endorse the  recommendation from the Public Accounts Committee that a proper management system be established by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, to ensure that when funding is provided by the Oireachtas,  it is utilised in the appropriate manner, and is used to fund services that are necessary and lacking. However, we also believe that the Government should be held fully accountable for budget decisions that affect the lives of children and young people, and we  are calling on the government to implement a more cohesive budgetary policy for children and youth...

EPIC Advocacy Report 2018

This report gives an overview of the EPIC Advocacy cases in 2018. This report gives an overview of the EPIC Advocacy cases in 2018. It presents a profile of the young people who sought advocacy support, identifies the main presenting issues and key actions taken by EPIC to address their concerns. The aim of EPIC’s advocacy work is to empower children in care and young people with care experience to have a say in issues that affect their lives. The nature of EPIC’s role can vary from providing basic information, for example, in relation to social welfare entitlements, to providing practical support, such as assisting a young person to find an educational course or accommodation. At the highest level of engagement, one of the EPIC Advocacy team may be asked by a young person to represent their views on their behalf, for example, by attending a care or aftercare review meeting. This is the tenth annual report on EPIC Advocacy cases, the first of which was in 2009. The number of Advocacy cases has increased substantially over these ten years – from 61 in 2009 to 653 in 2018. During the year 2018, there were eight Advocacy Officers in EPIC, two in each of the main regions: Dublin North East; Dublin Mid Leinster; South; and West. Therefore, on average, each EPIC Advocacy Officer dealt with 82 cases throughout the year, which has increased from an average of 73 cases in the previous year 2017, when there was a total of 589 EPIC Advocacy cases. In 2018, there were 395 Referrals to the EPIC National Advocacy Service. This number had...

Launch of EPIC’s 2018 National Advocacy Report

Press Release Download PDF The State has to act to prevent young people moving from care into homelessness EPIC- Empowering People in Care today launch their 2018 Advocacy Report which saw 653 children and young people with care experience accessing the National Advocacy Service. This is an increase of 11% from the previous year and demonstrates the continuing increase in demand for advocacy services, despite the fact that children and young adults in the care system are not routinely made aware of the service. Our 2018 report again highlights the importance of independent advocacy in our child protection and welfare system to ensure that the voice of every child and young adult is heard, in decisions which affect their lives. The main presenting issues facing children and young adults in the 2018 report have not changed since EPIC began collating this information six years ago; with care placement, accommodation, aftercare, family contact and parental rights all continuing to top the list. Speaking about the report, EPIC’s CEO, Terry Dignan said: “EPIC remains the only national service providing independent advocacy to children and young adults in the care system. While recognition of the importance of independent advocacy is growing, we are still some way behind the UK where advocacy was given a statutory basis, through the National Health Service Act, in 2006. The current review of the Child Care Act 1991 presents an opportunity to recognise advocacy in legislation in Ireland. As we continue to try to come to terms with the tragic consequences of a past where the voices of children and young adults in care were not heard...

20th Anniversary Article by Katelyn Kelly

It’s our 20th Anniversary and we are celebrating 20 years of being EPIC by posting articles every month about EPIC. This month is an article written by Care Leaver Katelyn Kelly.   Care experience over all: I had a good experience overall during my time in care. I had only one placement during my time in care. I don’t think if I was not in care that I’d be the same as I am today for many reasons. Being in care has truly changed me as a human being. If I wasn’t in care, I don’t think I would have finished school or even went on to college. Being in care made me go and achieve a goal I would have never thought I would have. Being in care made me a strong independent woman I never knew I could be. I had a very supportive upbringing with my foster parents always being there to cheer me on with achieving things such as completing the leaving certificate, something I never could see happening if I was still in my birth home. How I came into Care: I came into care when I was 7 years old along with few of my siblings. I was put into care because my parents had issues of their own and couldn’t mind me or my other siblings. My Dad had Asperger’s and my Mum had autism. Most of their children had one of these conditions and they couldn’t mind us because they had children who had needs while trying to deal with their own needs was a struggle and a difficulty for them....

20th Anniversary Article by Suzanne O’Brien

It’s our 20th Anniversary and we are celebrating 20 years of being EPIC by posting articles every month about EPIC. This month is an article written by EPIC Participation Officer and Care Leaver Suzanne O’Brien.   In 2012, I was 23 years of age and in my fifth year of a social care degree. I was in the beginning stages of completing my thesis on ‘Aftercare’ and finding myself more and more frustrated with the lack of data/ information and outcomes on care leavers in Ireland. I soon took this frustration to my college tutor who simply said, “All I had to do was go to EPIC”. This was said in such a way that suggested that to do so would somehow give me the holy grail of access to the information and young people that I needed for my thesis. That same night I went home and googled EPIC. What I found was a website that held lots of information about care, legislation, rights, and videos exploring what it meant to be in care. This organisation was set up to support children in care and those with care experience, but I as a care leaver had never heard of them? I never knew that they could have helped me when I needed help the most. Why was that? In 1997, at nine years of age and through no fault of my own, I became a child in care. In 1999, my mam then passed away and I soon became reliant on the state to care for me up until my 18th birthday. Throughout my childhood, I was the...

20th Anniversary Article Series Introduction

                         EPIC 20th Anniversary Article Series Introduction This year is the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Irish Association of Young People In Care, which in 2011 became EPIC Empowering People In Care. As part of our 20th anniversary celebration we are delighted to present the first of a series of articles which we hope will provide interesting overview on EPIC from our foundation in 1999, to our work today and the future direction of the organisation. The articles are written by individuals and groups who have shared EPIC’s journey in one way or another over the past twenty years. These articles are written by Young People, members of the EPIC Youth Council, current and former members of the EPIC team, Board Members and professionals from other organisations that have worked closely with EPIC and contributed to where we are today. All articles will be available under the News & Events>20th  Anniversary menu tab on our website at https://www.epiconline.ie/topics/20th-anniversary/ We hope that you will enjoy these articles and join us in celebrating our 20th year....

CHILD PROTECTION MUST ALWAYS BE A PRIORITY

28th February 2019 Child protection must always be a priority For every organisation working with children child protection must be the priority above all else. It is of concern that despite such poor findings from a HIQA inspection in January 2018 that it took until January 2019 for Oak Lodge Fostering Services to cease operating. A further announced inspection was carried out in September 2018, but worryingly many significant failings and major non-compliances remained. EPIC commends HIQA for their inspection process. EPIC believes that the provision of an appropriate action-plan for services such as Oak Lodge Fostering Services to improve and meet minimum standards should be considered. Such a plan would be collaborative between HIQA, Tusla and the service provider and have clear deliverables with a realistic timeframe and regular oversight of progress made. A repeat unannounced inspection, or series of inspections where resources allow, could be carried out within a reasonable timeframe to verify progress. A nine-month delay between inspections, such as in the case of Oak Lodge, seems excessive in the case of serious concerns around child protection. Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said: “Too often we are seeing that organisations working with children are not prioritising child-protection through the development of a robust and appropriate child protection framework and the training of staff and volunteers in the protection of children.  With the considerable support and assistance available to organisations in developing frameworks and policies, through organisations like Tusla and others, there is no excuse for any organisation not to have a robust framework of policies and protocols for the protection of children in place and suitable training...

Football Blitz and Flashmob

20th February 2019 #CareDay19 Football Blitz and Flashmob February 20th 2019 Continuing To celebrate children in care Get Vocal, Get Social, Get Involved Last Friday the 15th of February saw EPIC and other organisations around the world celebrating care day. Care Day is the world’s largest celebration of children and young people with care experience. They deserve to be celebrated, on care day, and every day. EPIC is continuing these celebrations on Wednesday the 20th of February in collaboration with Don Bosco to celebrate children and young people in our care community. Check it out on https://careday.ie/ Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said: “EPIC is delighted to be collaborating for the 3rd year with Don Bosco Care in a football blitz, with support from Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing (D.C.C.) and Swim Ireland, in Clontarf between 1 and 3pm, as part of our #CareDay19 celebrations. This is a wonderful event for young care leavers to have some fun and promote health and positivity in care.  Across town, in the centre of Dublin, other young care leavers will participate in a flashmob on Wednesday afternoon. It will be a fun afternoon! So, get vocal, get social and get involved in celebrating the successes and positive achievements of those in care or with care experience this Wednesday.” Ciaran Kenny, Don Bosco said: “Every Tuesday for the last ten years about 20 young people gather to kick a football around in Clontarf. It is a wonderful social outlet for Young People with care experience, a great way for these young people to be part of a community, to have a positive experience, and have...

Press Release #CareDay19

#CareDay19 A global celebration of children in care – February 15th 2019 Get Vocal, Get Social, Get Involved Care Day is the world’s largest celebration of children and young people with care experience. They deserve to be celebrated, on care day, and every day. EPIC is hosting several events around the country to celebrate children and young people in our care community. Check it out on https://careday.ie/ Terry Dignan, CEO of EPIC, said: “EPIC is delighted to be spearheading this year’s Care Day 2019 on the 15th of February. It is an initiative of ‘5 Nations 1 Voice’ – an alliance made up of five children’s rights charities across the U.K. and Ireland: Become in England, EPIC in Ireland, VOYPIC in Northern Ireland, Voices from Care in Wales, and Who Cares? Scotland. This year we are also joined in our celebrations by The Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. It is such an exciting and positive day internationally, and each year it is growing. Care Day is a day where we are asking you to show your support, get vocal, get social and get involved in celebrating the successes and positive achievements of those in care or with care experience.” Conor, Care-Leaver and student said: “CareDay promotes all the positive stories about care experienced people. There are so many negative stories out there. It is really important for us to be able to counteract the stereotypes” We are delighted that Katherine Zappone T.D, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs will today formally launch Care Day at TU Dublin Tallaght Campus (Room 001) at 10.15am and following this the Children’s Ombudsman,...
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