20th Anniversary Article – A personal reflection

                                                       EPIC Anniversary Article Series               A personal reflection on the early days of EPIC By Catherine Carthy – founder of EPIC 24th January 2019   On the 15th January 2000, I began work in the role of National Co-ordinator of the Irish Association of Young People in Care (IAYPIC). It sounds grander than it was, as in reality the organisation was a desk on the top floor of Barnardo’s Head Office in Dublin, a mobile phone and a 2-page project proposal. In the first weeks, I began to draw up plans of how we could action their vision for the organisation. We initially met as a small group of five, but quickly identified a number of key people to be part of a wider management committee. The organisation was still little more than an elaborate proposal with a co-ordinator. Within a number of months, IAYPIC was being recognised as an organisation that represented the views of young people in care and we began to be inundated by requests to participate on boards and fora where the voice of young people in care had been missing heretofore. The National Children’s Strategy was being drafted in those first months of 2000, and John Collins from the Department of Health asked IAYPIC to convene a group of young people with care experience who would give their views on what they thought should be included in a ten-year children’s strategy....

Participation

Participation What is “Participation” ?  Participation means being involved in decisions affecting you. It does not mean having the right to make the decision, however, it means that your views should be taken into account. If you feel you are not being listened to, you should contact EPIC. You can get the support of an Advocate to raise your concerns and ensure that your voice is heard in all decisions affecting your care. How Can I get involved?           You should be encouraged to participate in decisions affecting you on a daily basis. Your participation should be promoted by your social worker and carer(s). Your social worker should ensure that your views are taken into consideration in decisions made about your care. Your social worker should involve you in developing a care plan. A care plan will identify your needs, supports and various aspects of your care such as family contact and your education.  You should be encouraged and prepared by your social worker to participate in your care review. If you choose not to go to your care review, there are other ways you can have your views heard such as having an Advocate represent your views or by writing a letter prior to the care review.  ...
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