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....

Executive Summary – Advocacy Report 2017

This is an Executive Summary of the EPIC Advocacy cases Report - 2017. 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. To read the full report visit here Get Executive Summary...

EPIC Advocacy Cases 2017 Report

This report gives an overview of EPIC Advocacy cases in 2017. 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 education course or appropriate 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 ninth annual report on EPIC Advocacy cases, the first of which was in 2009. The number of Advocacy cases has increased substantially over these eight years – from 61 in 2009 to 589 in 2017. During the year 2017, 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 73 cases throughout the year, which has increased from an average of 63 cases in the previous year 2016, when there was a total of 500 EPIC Advocacy cases. In 2017, there were 434 Referrals to the EPIC National Advocacy Service. Compared to the previous year 2016, when there were 370 Referrals, this has increased by...

EPIC Advocacy Policy Document

Advocacy Policy and Practice Guidelines  The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on the implementation and operation of EPIC’s advocacy service: To offer guidance to advocates in their role. To inform service users of what they can realistically expect from their advocate. To inform service providers, other professionals, care staff and foster carers about the scope and limitations of the advocate’s role. To raise awareness of the need for and benefits of independent advocacy  for vulnerable children and young people. To view in full click below https://www.epiconline.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/EPIC-Advocacy-Policy-and-Practice-Document-March-2013.doc                                                ...
Advocacy Case Report 2014

Advocacy Case Report 2014

Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2014 This report gives an overview of the EPIC Advocacy cases in 2014. 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 significantly 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 education course or appropriate 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 sixth annual report on EPIC Advocacy cases, the first of which was in 2009. The number of Advocacy cases has increased substantially over these six years – from 61 in 2009 to 371 in 2014. In October 2012, EPIC employed six additional staff members including a National Advocacy Service Manager and four Advocacy Officers (two for the Dublin Mid-Leinster region and two for the Southern region). This increased the number of EPIC Advocacy Officers from three to seven. In 2014, there was a total of 184 new Referrals to EPIC. The data presented in this report will help to inform the future development of EPIC’s Advocacy work. In addition, the issues raised will contribute to EPIC’s research and policy...
Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2013

Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2013

Full Report> Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2013  (PDF) This report gives an overview of the EPIC Advocacy cases in 2013. 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 significantly 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 education course or appropriate 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 fifth annual report on EPIC Advocacy cases, the first of which was in 2009. The number of Advocacy cases has increased substantially over these five years – from 61 in 2009 to 241 in 2013. In October 2012, EPIC employed five additional staff members including a National Advocacy Service Manager and four Advocacy Officers (two for the Dublin Mid-Leinster region and two for the Southern region). This has increased EPIC’s capacity to take on new Advocacy cases, which has certainly contributed to the rise of Advocacy cases. Nevertheless, there has been a real increase in the number of referrals being made to EPIC and an ever increasing demand for advocacy support. The data presented in this report...
Pathways – Guide to Leaving Care

Pathways – Guide to Leaving Care

Download the Guide (PDF) PATHWAYS is an aftercare guide that has been created for young people who are preparing to leave care by young people who have left care. Within this guide there are full and detailed sections telling you everything you need to know for leaving care and assisting you towards finding a place of your own. Those of us who have made this transition before have shared our experience through the consultation in the early stages of preparing this guide. Professionals from the agencies who have for many years worked with care leavers also contributed their experiences gained from supporting young people during this exciting and sometimes scary time. The Pathways aftercare guide has been published jointly by EPIC, Focus Ireland and Empower Ireland - Jan 2013. Download the Guide...
‘It’s about me’ – Report on Care Reviews

‘It’s about me’ – Report on Care Reviews

‘It’s about me’ - Young People’s experience of participating in their care reviews. Research report (2014) Care reviews are an integral part of the care planning process which involve making decisions about aspects of young people’s welfare while in State care, for example issues concerning their current placement, extent of family contact, education/schooling etc. The main aim of this EPIC research study is to explore young people’s experiences of participating in their care reviews, which includes preparation for the care review meeting,the actual meeting itself and feedback given to young people following the meeting. The report is available as a PDF here ( NB: If the file doesn’t open for you, you may need a free PDF reader, such as Adobe Reader installed on your device first to read...
Annual Report 2012-2013

Annual Report 2012-2013

It has been a busy year for EPIC, in 2012 our advocates supported 123 young people who sought our support. EPIC’s 2012 advocacy report clearly flags young people want their voices heard and respected. Most importantly EPIC’s experience clearly demonstrates that when we listen to and trust the voice of young people in care we create a dynamic for positive outcomes. Young people articulated how being in care can be an unsettling and complicated experience. Issues related to placement stability, aftercare planning, educational support and maintaining meaningful relationships are central to achieving a nurturing care experience. 2012 has been a landmark year of change and development for EPIC. We saw the successful completion of our Strategic Plan (2010 – 2012); this plan set ambitious targets for the development of EPIC....
Strategic Plan 2013-15

Strategic Plan 2013-15

Foreword Representing the views of young people with care experience and advocating with them and on their behalf to promote positive change within the Irish care system is the core of EPIC’s work. This strategic plan outlines EPIC’s ambitious plans for the next three years. Thanks to the support of philanthropic donations and statutory funding, EPIC has been able to develop a National AdvocacyService (NAS), which will be launched in early 2013. The roll-out of a National Advocacy Service significantly expands the organisation’s remit in providing direct advocacy support to young people… Read the full...
Research on outcomes for young people leaving care in North Dublin

Research on outcomes for young people leaving care in North Dublin

‘My voice has to be heard’ Outcomes_for_young_people_leaving_care_in_North_Dublin_2012 This research study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the issues facing young people when they leave care. This report aims to answer three main research questions. What are the needs and circumstances of young people aged 17-18 who leave care in North Dublin? What factors are associated with more positive outcomes for young people? What are young people’s experiences of receiving aftercare supports? The full report is now available to download as a PDF file (you will need to have a free PDF reader such as Adobe installed). ‘MY VOICE HAS TO BE HEARD’ Research on outcomes for young people leaving care in North Dublin Fiona Daly EPIC Research Officer June 2012 © 2012‘MY VOICE HAS TO BE HEARD’ Research on outcomes for young people leaving care in North Dublin Fiona Daly EPIC Research Officer July...
Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2012

Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2012

Full Report> Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2012 This report presents detailed information on the characteristics of young people who engaged with EPIC’s Advocacy Service in 2012. 2012 has witnessed a levelling-off of advocacy cases where there were 123 advocacy cases on a par to 2011. However, as identified in this report, the duration of advocacy cases has increased for example, 22% of advocacy cases lasted for over six months in 2012 compared to just 9% in 2011. In late October 2012, EPIC employed 5 additional staff members including: 1 National Advocacy Service Manager, 2 new Advocacy Officers for the HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster region and 2 new Advocacy Officers for the HSE South region. During this period (late October-December 2012), there were 29 referrals recorded. The aim of EPIC’s advocacy work is to empower children and care leavers to have a say and be heard in issues that significantly affect their lives. The nature of the Advocacy role can comprise varying levels of involvement by EPIC. At the most basic level, it may involve finding out information requested by the young person, for example, in relation to welfare rights, housing rights or regarding aftercare options available. A young person may also contact EPIC looking for practical or emotional support, for example, a young adult may need assistance in finding suitable accommodation. At the highest level of engagement, one of the EPIC Advocacy team may be required to advocate, or represent the young person’s views with them or on their behalf, for example, by attending a care/ aftercare review meeting or a court hearing. The data in this report focuses on...

Briefing Document Aftercare

 Aftercare is a process of preparation and support for leaving care and moving to independent living for all those young people who are or have been in the care of the State. [1]    It is the provision of advice, guidance and assistance with regard to social and emotional support, accommodation and vocational support.  It is a through-care process, in consultation with the young person, beginning from reception into care and includes comprehensive assessments, care plans and reviews.[2] In the absence of a supportive family network, those leaving care experience more acutely the transition to independent living.  An effective aftercare policy strengthens the position of a young person leaving care, supports their transition to independent living and reduces the likelihood of homelessness, and social exclusion on leaving care. [1] There is no standard definition of aftercare. [2] Youth Homelessness Strategy Monitoring Committee ..Read More (full PDF document below) Attachments Briefing Document Aftercare...
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