First Minister backs Care Experienced call for a public information campaign on care

Speakers tell of discrimination and stigma faced by Care Experienced people, by public who don’t understand care.

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Speakers tell of discrimination and stigma faced by Care Experienced people, by public who don’t understand care

The First Minister has today backed the Care Experienced community’s call for a public education campaign about care.

Nicola Sturgeon was speaking at an event organised by Who Cares? Scotland, to celebrate Care Day 2019.

At the event – at Glasgow’s Tramway Theatre –  she heard powerful accounts from three people with experience of the care system. They each spoke of the various times they had encountered discrimination and stigma, as a result of their care experience.

Examples included being turned down for work placements, and having their care experience noted as a health risk, while pregnant. One spoke of his experience of seeing his community turn out in force against the opening of a new children’s home. They all spoke of how their lives were made more challenging, due to a fundamental understanding of care and what it means.

They issued an ask of the First Minster, to respond to their stories by committing to work with Who Cares? Scotland on a public information campaign, to help change public attitudes and understanding of the care system and Care Experienced people. This would help people to understand that children enter the care system through no fault of their own, and are full of potential as any other person in life.

Following their testimony, Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The most important thing you are doing right now is changing attitudes and perceptions of young people who grow up in care. You are, each and every day, tackling stigma.

“I want to endorse the principle of a public education campaign. We will work with Who Cares? Scotland and others to shape that. This is such an important thing if we want to see the other changes we want to make.

“As the chief corporate parent in the country, it’s important that I am your advocate and defender. Together we can make this country better for all our young people. We can do it in Scotland and be a beacon for the rest of the world.”

The First Minister was then joined by Fiona Duncan, Chair of The Independent Care Review, to take questions from the audience.

Care Day was launched in 2015, to mark the day on which legislation was changed to allow children to remain in care for longer. Today it is celebrated by Care Experienced people and their supporters, all over the world.

Today’s speakers are members of The Collective, a Who Cares? Scotland body of representatives, who campaign for change on behalf of Care Experienced people.