Dr Cat Hugman and myself were invited by Dr Mariela Neagu, on behalf of the Oxford Children’s Rights Network at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights to give a presentation on our experiences from the Care Experience Conference. The event was all the more significant as it is the year of the 30th anniversary UN Convention Rights of the Child.
The Children’s Rights Network are a group of researchers, students, and practitioners primarily based in Oxford, working on a broad range of issues related to children’s rights. They created the platform in order to share information, exchange ideas, and collaborate on research.
The Care Experience Conference was led by Ian Dickson and a team of volunteers and was a life-changing event for many, seeds were planted… For my part of the presentation at Oxford, I reflected on how the Care Exp Conference steering group came together, how the conference evolved and the creativity behind the art exhibition that led up to the day.
At the heart of the care experience conference were the people aged 18-84 who had spent time in the system. Some still shell-shocked from that time. A warzone for many and now on the other side -determined to speak out about their treatment in hope that those who do the ‘caring’ will change re-assess their practice.
When a child goes into care they will have lost everything: family, possessions, home, and their friends. They will be dealing with trauma. They may be dealing with the death of a parent or neglect or abuse and also dealing with separation and loss. Children don’t go into care for happy reasons.
At present there are 96,415 children in the care system in the UK.