The day started with the 4:26am train from Glasgow to London. Despite the early start, I was buzzing for the day ahead and couldn’t wait to get to the conference. I was looking forward to the chance to improve my understanding of the experiences of people of colour within the care system.
I was also hoping to meet other Care Experienced people of colour at the conference and gain a wider understanding of the care system in England.
The agenda for the day was really appealing. It was made up of two panels, discussion groups and performances from Care Experienced artists. The first panel was the ‘Children’s Social Care Workforce Panel’ where the panelists discussed ‘cultural competency’ before we were put into breakout groups. In the groups, we discussed what ‘cultural competency’ looks like in the care system. It was really interesting hearing everyone’s ideas and seeing the similarities in answers across the groups.
Then we had a break for lunch where I got to meet more Care Experienced people of colour as well as practitioners. Then it was onto the next panel for the day. The panelists were all Black and Care Experienced and spoke about their own personal experiences before taking questions from the audience. It was a really emotive panel and you could tell everyone in the room was listening intently. In the next break out group, we discussed the answer to “What do you need to know when raising a black child or young person in Children’s Social Care?”.
After that, we were treated to a vocal performance and spoken word piece by two Black Care Experienced people. Both were really impressive!
The day was very engaging and over so quickly! My favourite part was the group work sessions. I learned so much from the other practitioners who are working to support Care Experienced people of colour. There was lots of dialogue on how to support the Black Care Experienced community.
Overall, the day surpassed my expectations as I was able to relate to so much lived experience. I also had the opportunity to gain more knowledge of the barriers faced by Black people in care.
The main learning I’ve taken is that is it vital for there to be a wider understanding of race and ethnicity in the care system. There is limited research and understanding which is limiting the voices of Black Care Experienced people. It is important for the full Care Experienced community that it ensures it reflects all the voices of lived experience!
If you are thinking of attending the Black Care Experience Conference next year, I’d really encourage you to do so! I gained so much from the day from being able to connect with other Black Care Experienced people (even one from Scotland) and building on my own knowledge and understanding.
This article was written by Jasmin Pilling for the Spring 2023 edition of SpeakOut. Check it out here.