EPIC FORA

 

In 2015 EPIC (Empowering People in Care) in partnership with TUSLA and supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies began the process of setting up national participation groups for children and young people in Foster Care, which are known as ‘Fora’.

The purpose of the Fora is to find out directly from children and young people; what they believe are the positives and challenges about living in care. To hear their views on issues of relevance to them as experts in their own experiences, to amplify their voices and to influence change within policy and practice.

Since the establishment of the Fora, many of the groups identified projects that they would like to take on and that they felt would benefit and support other Children, Young People, and Professionals which would support improved practice based on their own experiences.

 

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Young Person, age 14

These groups allow me to deal with the care system in a child friendly way and lets us know that we are not alone or different 

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Young Person, age 15

“It’s really fun and I feel the same as everyone else here, I don’t have to explain why I don’t live at home” 

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Area Manager

“It has been a privilege to sit in a room with a group of young people and to hear what we could do better, simple things, but it makes so much sense when you hear it directly from them” 

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Young Person, 16

 It really shows the importance of making sure that we feel accepted, are listened to and feel loved.” 

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Social Worker, Dublin

“The process of this group was as powerful as the outcomes, being part of a group in which children and young people set the agenda and are empowered as young citizens has been amazing as a Social Worker” 

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Young Person, 14

This group has taught me that my opinion matters” 

Fora Projects

1) Animation Awareness Video – Produced by Louth/ Meath

Animation video exploring young peoples experiences of care

2) Awareness Video – Mid-West

Video exploring young people’s experiences of care

3) Accessing Files Leaflet – Dublin South Central

Information about how you can access your Care files

4) Dictionary – Dublin North City

Care words that we hear, but don’t always understand

5) Building Relationships Poster – Dublin North City

Top tips for Social Workers from 8-12 year olds

6) Placement Move Booklet – Donegal

Getting to know your new Foster Carers

7) My Life My Choice (Change Your Attitude) Rap (Audio)  – Cork

8) No Matter What They Say (I Will Do My Own Thing) Rap (Audio)  - Cork

1. Animation Awareness Video - Louth/Meath

 

This Forum includes Young People from 12-17 years of age.

This group have created a stop animation Awareness Video based on the individual experiences of the Young People.

This group have created a stop animation Awareness Video based on the individual experiences of the Young People.

The video explores cultural diversity, the importance of positive and negative relationships with their Foster Carers and Social Workers and the impact that these relationships can have on their everyday life.

3. Accessing Files Leaflet - Dublin South Central

This Forum includes Young People from 12-17 years of age.

This group have designed a leaflet in relation to how Young People can access their files.

It was inspired by the Young Peoples wishes to be able, with the support of their Social Workers to have access to their files and the information that is stored about them and their families.

5. Top Tips Poster - Dublin North City

 

The second Forum in this area includes Young People from 8-12 years of age.

This group strongly identified with their positive relationships they had with their Social Workers.

As a result, this group created a positive messages poster that will promote the meaningful participation of Young People with their Social Workers.

7. My Life, My Choice, (Change Your Attitude) - Cork

 

This Forum includes Young People from 12-17 years of age and was one of the first Forum’s set up in 2015.

This group related strongly to the stigma that they faced being a Young Person in Care.

From this perspective they decided to record a Rap titled “Change your Attitudes” in an attempt to address this stigma.

Listen to Rap (MP3 Audio)

2. Awareness Video - Mid West

 

This Forum includes Young People from 13-17 years of age.

This group were passionate about creating a dramatic piece around their experiences of living in care, highlighting both the positive and challenging aspects of this.

This group have created a video that will address their experiences and create some awareness of the issues that they have faced as part of their Care journey

 

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4. Care Dictionary - Dublin North City

This Forum includes Young People from 12-17 years of age. This group identified most with their misunderstanding of the ’jargon’ used by the professionals around them and how professionals phrased questions they about their lives.

As a result of this the group have completed a Young Person Friendly Dictionary which includes the many words that Young People in Care will hear and should know. 

Coming soon, please check back - Dictionary in final design stages

6. Getting to Know Your New Foster Carers - Donegal

This Forum includes Young People from 12-17 years of age.

This group highlighted their concern around their experiences of abrupt and upsetting placement moves where they would not know the foster family that they would be moving to.

As a result, the Young People worked on creating a booklet which includes all the questions that caused them anxiety and includes information about what they think is important to know when moving to a new home.

 

8. No Matter what they Say - Cork

 

The second Forum in this area includes Young People from 13-16 years of age. This group includes Young people from both Foster Care and Residential Care.

The main theme/ experiences highlighted by this group has been the ‘lack of love’ within the Care System and their feelings of a disconnect between them and the professionals in their lives.

This group have written and produced a rap around this topic.

 

Listen to Rap (MP3 Audio)

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