A group of north-east youngsters are using this year’s Foster Care Fortnight to begin a campaign to shake off the stigma of being looked after.
The Young People’s Organising and Campaigning (YPOC) work alongside Aberdeenshire Council’s children’s services to help others in care.
YPOC have turned attention to the stigma of that surrounds being looked after during Foster Care Fortnight.
The two-week campaign aims to raise the profile of fostering and show how it can transform lives.
The youngsters, from across Aberdeenshire, have said that their experience of being looked after is an important part of being able to support and enable others coming into care to thrive without being judged or stereotyped.
Lauren Barrie, one of the young people representing the YPOC Group, said they are hoping to tackle the stigma head-on.
She said: “Raising awareness of the fact that stigma surrounds children and young people in care is the first step in tackling it.
“Many people have unconscious bias so it’s about educating people so that they understand why we come into care and what it’s like.
“We need to get to the point where we can explain our care experience without people making assumptions about us.
“Foster Care Fortnight is a good time to highlight the incredible impact those who support care experienced young people can make. We hope this will support foster families as well who may at times find stigma gets in the way.”
YPOC are also working on a new website to support young people in care as well as the adults who look after them.
‘We are committed to keeping The Promise’
Emma Allen is a virtual headteacher who works on behalf of around 400 care experienced children in Aberdeenshire.
She said it was important to change the perception of those being looked after.
Emma said: “We are committed to keeping ‘The Promise’ to care experienced children and young people and part of this is about addressing stigma.
“There is so much work planned for the coming weeks, months and years and this is all about services working closely together to ensure care experienced children and young people are given all the support they need to thrive.”
Councillor Gillian Owen, chairwoman of Aberdeenshire Council’s education and children’s services committee added: “It’s easy to make assumptions and I think this is a great reminder to us all to take a step back and really think about how we interact with children and young people.
“Our YPOC group has some really powerful messages and I think it’s especially important if you work with children and young people, as well as for the wider public, to watch these videos and better understand their point of view.”
Meanwhile, the YPOC group are hoping to add their own video to the Press & Journal and Evening Express’ time capsule project.
They believe it highlights what life was like during the pandemic and what mattered most to children and young people.
To find out more about fostering in Aberdeenshire visit
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