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The Reading Rooms bus will be very visible outside the Guildhall in Derry city centre this morning as the Mayor, Cllr. Elisha McCallion hosts VOYPIC representatives and other organisations to mark the special day.
Scores of children
and their carers will join VOYPIC and other organisations across the UK and Ireland to tell real and positive
stories of children and care leavers during the event on Friday, February 19.
Care Day is intended to become a regular feature on the yearly calendar of children’s events. As well as here in Northern Ireland, the initiative is being marked in England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.
Most children and young people grow up in the safety of their families and receive the care and support they need. But for various reasons, some children don’t, and there may be no alternative but to take them into care. These are hard decisions, not taken lightly.
There are almost 3,000 children in care in Northern Ireland and each of them has their own story. That story may explain why they came into care as well as telling the tale of their life with their carers, their social worker, their family and friends. Some stories may be hard hitting and reflect real challenges but there are also stories of resilience, hope and success.
There’s no doubt that coming into and living in care can be difficult. We know that young people want as much privacy about their own lives as possible, but they also want to see accurate and positive images of care. They are aware of the stereotypes that can be attached to them so, on Care Day, we want to challenge negative perceptions and start replacing them with positive messages and stories.
Explaining why they are leading the Care Day campaign, Vivian McConvey, VOYPIC’s CEO said:
“This is our first ever Care Day and I’m delighted that so many organisations have come on board to mark it. From dawn to dusk - and later still - there’s an activity or event going on somewhere in Northern Ireland where people will be talking about care.
We need to change attitudes towards children in care and care leavers. It’s already been tough enough for them and they should have the same life chances as their peers who have not been in care. I’m convinced that if we work at this together we can have the best system to care for vulnerable children and young people.
Too often, it’s distressing and negative stories that make the headlines. There is another – equally important - side to children’s lives. The only thing we’re asking people to do today is to think about care, look at it in a different way and tell us what your wish is for the care system and the children who live in it.”