Care Convos November

The next #CareConvos will be this MonDAY 4th Nov 2019, 8pm and the topic is… *RELATIONSHIPS*.

Some interesting reflections on relationships from academics with care experience:

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, JACQUELINE Z WILSON FROM FEDERATION UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA

For me the most difficult relationships were during my days at school when I was aged between 5 and 12. I went to about 20 primary schools due to so many moves – foster care; resi care; salvation army care; orphanage style care; emergency hostel care, on the streets with no care, et cetera. I never experienced forming long term school friends or getting to know a geographical area. There are so many rites of passage that so many people take for granted that I didn’t do  – I don’t feel sad or anything, just different– the quintessential outsider. I lived on and off with my mother too, who was also constantly on the move due to pretty extreme domestic violence and drugs. To this day I struggle with the idea of families that have long established friendship groups and relations who shared xmas, and or birthdays, and even went on holidays together — the taken for granted ways of doing things that a lot of us didn’t experience. I went on camp as a child – but it was a camp that was designed for poor/at-risk kids and I was hand-picked from the school by teachers and told I was to attend –  so even camp was weird, and there I was again, with a group of complete strangers aged 10. After 14 days at camp I went back to my mother, then back into care and so on. My own children have brilliant long-term relationships and old school friends. They are in their mid to late 20s now and I watch how they live with their well-established networks and friendship groups they have known since primary school –  for me it is just so wonderful to see, but also a stark reminder of what might have been. The trick is to take that feeling and make it positive. It’s not always easy. Mostly it is Ok, but there are days when you can fall down.

RESEARCH ASSISTANT, ROSIE CANNING FROM UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Relationships in my life have never been straightforward! Trust has always been a huge issue. I don’t think that is a ‘bad’ thing, it is just part of the make-up of lived care experience. Many people in my past have let me down, that is a fact. But there have also been people who supported me, cared about me and loved me. I’m still in contact with some ‘old’ school friends and we meet up a few times a year. We know each other really well and there is a comfortableness that goes with our friendships. We can laugh, joke and cry if we need too.

I’d say a difficult period in my life re relationships was when my children were at school. I just couldn’t find a place to fit in. It felt like the choice was either a group of boozy, smoking swearering mums or middle-class mothers. My then husband encouraged one relationship and it was disastrous – she stole jewellery from us! It was awful and the trust issues became even worse. However, I did make a few good relationships in the area where I lived in North London. They were mainly middle-class in that they owned their own very expensive houses and we were the only council-house-family in the road, but overall they were very welcoming. It was a time when children still played in the street, the last generation I think. I look back with fondness and good memories. My children were loved and we had a lot of fun.

Through my writing and creative channels I now have many writing friends, a musician fella which is always a work-in-progress, some amazing #CEP friends, a close relationship with my daughter and grandchildren and a wonderful co-production relationship through the #CareConvos project. With age comes a comfortableness with who I am and it is this more than anything that has changed my life and given me a confidence to pursue friendships.

SENIOR LECTURER, DR DEE MICHELL, FROM UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE

What immediately came to mind when I saw this months #CareConvos topic – was an evening with the parents of my youngest daughter’s then best friend. I suppose Jemma would have been about 7 so I would have been about 46, and a competent woman. I ran a household, had begun a PhD, did part time paid work, and had published a couple of pieces. But I went into a curious anxious space when the conversation turned to family relationships. The other couple talked about their close knit families from a country town – close knit communities – and then they asked Tony about his family – and you don’t get more ‘normal’ and middle class than that. I got more and more concerned waiting to be asked about my family because then I’d have to out myself as a former foster kid in a setting of 3 ‘normal’ families. I’d be very much the odd one out.

It was curious, too, that they never got to asking anything about me – curious and a relief.

I’m not sure whether it was their lack of interest in me, or whether I wanted to go on avoiding outing myself, but I didn’t return the dinner invitation and invite the family over to ours! Which in retrospect was very rude of me.

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about RELATIONSHIPS this monday 4th Nov 8pm!

#CARE EXPERIENCED #Foster & #Kinship Carers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system.

all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives.

#relationshipsmatter

If there is anything about #CareConvos that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: rosie.canning@psy.ox.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience
at the 💙 of our conversations.

#CareExperiencedWeek

Care Experienced Week is a celebration of all things care experienced and events are happening all over the UK.

Hundreds of people have marched through the streets of Glasgow for a “Love Rally” to show their support for those who have experienced care.

BBC.CO.UK 19/10/2019

The week kicked off with the amazing LOVE RALLY in Glasgow. You can read the account of Public Affairs Coordinator, Who Cares? Scotland Kenny Murray’s of why he attended HERE.

Inspired by ‘love’ and ‘relationships’ Chris Hoyle, Management Information Analyst, Widening Participation Evidence and Evaluation, University of York, did an online reference for North Yorkshire County Council, on Twitter about his foster parents and what they meant to him, and it went viral! 

The Care Experienced Conference team forged new relationships this week when the recently published reports were presented to the Secretary of State and Education Minister. Read more here.

This was followed by a press release from the Department of Education marking National Care Leavers Week. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced new cross-government support available to young people leaving the care system, alongside £19 million of investment into programmes that directly benefit care leavers.

If you want some chill time and haven’t yet seen ‘Unbelievable’ a Netflix series, which follows a young woman with very few meaningful relationships and who is accused of lying about a rape as two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks…watch it! The show is based on the true story of a Care Experienced woman, Marie. Who Cares? Scotland campaign “Who We Are” – about Care Experienced people examining how #CEP lives are represented in films, on TV, on radio, in books and in the news – has this to say: A Case Study on News Reporting.

One of the most important relationships in our lives is the one with ourselves! IMO (In My Opinion), will be sharing a sneak peak of replies from teens in care and care leavers all over the country to their new #dearfutureme campaign. They are asking teens in care and care leavers to write a message on a postcard to their future selves – ‘Dear future me’. You could use the postcards to offer advice and words of encouragement to your future self. 

This weekend it is the amazing #YourLifeYourStory event which welcomes those with care experience to get together, meet old friends and form new ‘relationships’ and take part in writing workshops. Your Life Your Story takes place Friday 25th-Monday 28th October 2019 – more details here YLYS-PROGRAM-2019.

There are many more events happening around the UK, just type hashtag #careexperiencedweek or #careleaversweek into Twitter or Google, and you’ll see the hundreds of amazing things that are happening to support and celebrate care experience and create new relationships.

Don’t forget to JOIN US for #CARECONVOS 4thNovember at 8.00pm to talk about RELATIONSHIPS. All welcome, we’re interested in EVERYONE’S perspectives. 

#CareConvos October

Welcome!

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE HOSTING OUR THIRD TWITTER CONVERSATION THIS EVENING (MON 7TH OCTOBER) FROM 8-9PM, JOIN US AT #CARECONVOS TO CHAT! 

Leading up to this months #CareConvos CARE EXPERIENCE AND LANGUAGE we posted examples of good and bad practice via Twitter. You can see those responses here. And see below the story of language used when #adoptee, DR JOSIE ORRELL PEARSE went to look at her files:

So in the eighties I was in touch  with the holders of my records from The National Adoption Society. I turned up at a porta-cabin behind an office building somewhere in Willesden to meet a social worker who gingerly showed me copies of my mothers letters, my file, and then took them all away again. This was 1986 and she was entitled to do that. She seemed very nice in many ways. It was policy though, she said, and allowed me to choose one letter that my mother had written. I could have the original. I chose the first one where she was pleading for help…’I want a good home for my little girl…’ It wasn’t the whole story.

Things evolved and changed and the next time I went…about 2005, to another office in Wembley, policy now allowed me to have my whole file – or at least mine and my mother’s and the documents that had been written by the workers in the children’s residential nursery.  My adoptive parents files were still not open.

It was really something. I came away with the original documents and the council kept copies in the archives.I had the whole thing. It took me a long time to go thru it so it was a while before I found the social workers’ record of the day at the porta-cabin in 1983.  She had painted a picture of me that upset me. Among other things she found it  necessary to describe me as ‘plain’. I had been a grown woman and yet she still felt she had the right or the necessity to describe my physical appearance in disparaging terms. In my baby-files I was described in unflattering terms too.

Why? For me its  all about objectification, a kind of dehumanisation…you can justify anything done to someone when you can distance yourself enough to pass judgement like that. Just thoughts.

Join us for #CareConvos to talk about language & care tonight! #Foster & #Kinship Carers, #Residential Care workers, #Educators, #Adoptopters #Adopted #SocialWorkers and all professionals working with young people or in the system, all welcome! We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives.

#AmIUsingtheRightWords

#WordsMatter

We acknowledge that one of the core issues with language is how words define people’s identify for them. While we believe this is a critical issue to discuss, we don’t feel that twitter is the place to do that in a safe way. So, this evening’s conversation will focus on language in research and practice, and how we can talk about the complex experience that is care with words that are more appropriate.

If there is anything about tonight’s chat that affects you and you’d prefer to ask a question or make a point anonymously drop us an email at: rosie.canning@psy.ox.ac.uk and we’ll get back to you. #CareConvos

The GDPR introduced a right for individuals to have personal data erased. The right to erasure is also known as ‘the right to be forgotten‘. Individuals can make a request for erasure verbally or in writing. If you want to delete any of your tweets in #CareConvos, you can do that yourself. If they appear on the website, just ask and we will remove them

Putting children in care and care experience
at the 💙 of our conversations.

#CareConvos September

Welcome!

Leading up to this months #CareConvos we posted some responses to the question WHY DO WE NEED RESEARCH? You can see those responses here.

WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE HOSTING OUR SECOND TWITTER CONVERSATION THIS EVENING (MON 2ND SEPT) FROM 8-9PM, JOIN US AT #CARECONVOS TO CHAT! 

These are some of the questions we’ll be thinking about:

  • Have you ever been involved in research and would you like to be?
  • How might we do research better, involve people more meaningfully and across the research cycle?
  • Do you know of any novel ways to engage people from recruitment all the way to dissemination?
  • How we can make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers?

We’re talking about how we might improve research practices, e.g. how we might do research better, involve people more meaningfully across the research cycle. 

We’re also interested in novel ways to engage people from recruitment all the way to dissemination. We will also talk about how we can make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers. 

We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives, whether you are a care experienced person, a carer, a social worker, teacher, work for a virtual school or in any other role with care experience people…and researchers!

Why do we need research?

Monday’s #CareConvos is all about how we might improve research practices and novel ways to engage people and to make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers

But first we have to understand why we need research. We asked a few academics for their views and we posted the responses via Twitter, here is what they said:

Dr Dawn Mannay from Cardiff University

It is important to involve care experienced young people as peer researchers @CASCADEresearch @VoicesFromCare provide research methods training to achieve this #CASCADEVoices

Research is pointless if no one listens to the messages – we’ve produced #films #musicvideos #art #magazines together to move beyond the academic article & create change http://www.exchangewales.org/messagestoschools

Care experienced young people @RootsWales @ReachingWiderSU made this film about their experiences here: FromYoungPeopleforYoungPeople 

Free to access article – Enabling talk and reframing messages: working creatively with care experienced children and young people to recount and re-represent their everyday experiences here

If anyone wants to share their ideas about how we might improve research practices  we would love to have more blogs here

Associate Professor Jacqueline Z Wilson from Federation University Australia

It is an important but complex question. I’ve published something recently on this – where I outlined my time at a youth emergency accommodation hostel in Melbourne, Australia, when I was a state ward. There I had “research” done about me by university visitors. The article discusses the relevance and ethics of research with and about Care leavers — not a lot has changed today from when I was in care in the 1980s – if anything it is worse here. The article is co-authored with Social work academic Philip Mendes and former Ballarat Orphanage inmate Frank Golding.

Dr Neil Harrison from the Rees Centre, University of Oxford

In answer to the question: Because without robust and rigorous research, we’d just be guessing.

Dr Dee Michell from University of Adelaide

Research to show the (often many) ways in which the state has failed to provide adequately for children in its care is vital, as long as that research includes those who’ve been in care and is used to improve care – or even to render it unnecessary – not to condemn and stigmatise CEP. Doing research for the sake of doing research (no matter who is included) rather making than substantive change is a way, I think, of feathering the nests of those who exploit the system – and therefore indirectly the child and young people.

Dr Delyth Edwards from Liverpool Hope University

Research when done right can give us wonderful insights into peoples lives, that ordinarily may go unnoticed. Yet these insights can be of huge importance for helping bring about change in the policy sphere or wherever . Research can help us identify and explore themes, patterns and links between things that can be extremely helpful. For me, research is not about giving anyone a voice. People already have voices, its just a matter of listening and hearing what people say and with good research, that can happen. Also i hate hate hate it when the term ‘hard to reach group’ is used. No one is hard to reach, you just have to ask and speak to people.

Dr Josie Orrell Pearse of Pearse and Black

It’s been psychologically grounding/freeing  for me as CEP to contextualise the closed adoption system I grew up in. Although it’s still the norm in many states of the USA – and seems to have come from the American ‘dream’ of a new start for everyone deemed white – in so many other countries governments stopped the barbaric practice of cutting people from their roots for the purposes of social engineering in the late 20th century – if they ever had it at all. It was a particular time in history, made when western society as a whole was frightened of being tainted by so called bad or foreign blood. I think of it as  Coulterizing  after Mrs Coulter in Phillip Pullman’s work, who cuts children from their life- enhancing daemons.  

Ian Dickson, retired Social Worker/Ofsted Inspector

What is the value of research? To me the question invokes images of “Campbell’s condensed Soup”. To get enough soup to feed many, we need only open one tin of condensed soup instead of opening many. Research to me is simply the condensed version of years of practice & experience. Either each practitioner repeats all the mistakes of the past and learns over again every time or she opens a book and has the benefit of others’ condensed learning at her fingertips. 
The question should be how could one possibly manage without research! 

Katrina Goodman, MA Career Guidance student

My area of chosen research is careers of care leavers, originally this was to be an autoethnographic dissertation, changed by ethics process July 2019, so I am now writing up a literature review on the Journey of Care Leavers in Careers Guidance, using the psychological and sociological barriers that ‘may’ affect care leavers, using 1994 as the time I was relinquished from care as a time line. My findings have been upsetting, frustrating and at times I have sworn at my pc. There are years of missing data, and an unrepresentation of BAME in care leavers in relation to mental health identity aspirations rights life expectancy, to my horror there is no literature for this group going back to the 1980’s and a horrifying rise in racism in some of this country’s top universities. For me the importance of research, is to give a voice to our history as CEP’s. To give insight to the complex difficulties and issues that have predisposed us all, but to improve careers advice for care leavers, inform practitioners and hope that my research contributes to UK CEP community. That it gives weight to the lived experience and its need to be recognised as valued research, validating our experiences and to make a difference for the next generation. It is important that BAME are recognised in our history and to embed our legacy of survival. The epitome of examples of how successful CEP adults are, beyond the historic failings of systems, that we have been consulted, participated and contributed to. To show, young people, that despite adversity they/we are a collective community and we are making it as adults, this is my caffeine fuelled answer to the importance of research.

Dr Claire Fitzpatrick from Lancaster University

Robust and rigorous research can illuminate new insights whilst also reinforcing or challenging the relevance of knowledge previously generated. At its best, it has the potential to change the world – if the right people are listening!

We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives, whether you are a care experienced person, a carer, a social worker, teacher, work for a virtual school or in any other role with care experience people…and researchers!

Reflections from #careconvos

Reflections from Rosie Canning

Since our first Twitter conversation held three weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about Aoife’s PhD research, which she undertook at the Rees Centre, and which questioned: What is the relationship between carer involvement in education and school performance of children in foster and kinship care? One of the key findings suggested that aspiration encourages children’s school performance. I wondered if there were any key findings from the first #CareConvos on Twitter.

In total teachers were the most significant people to those that took part, 62% in total. So teachers out there, be very proud that those daily connections that you make are so important to a lot of people out there and give them belief for an aspirational future.

There was talk of different pathways, but also the belief that a significant teacher encouraged many people to go into education, though there was no one route. Talk emerged of many different pathways. Looking after children, supporting and inspiring them led to strength and determination in later years.

Again, relationships are key. Recognising that care experienced people do not tend to follow the traditional educational pathway was important for people. Listening to young people is important as was support for post 25s. In amongst the responses, wellbeing and the importance of self care i.e. taking time out if needed.

A stable loving environment. Recognising different educational pathways and support post 25 came up again. Flexibility and recognition of past experiences for those who want to study was important as was recognising that care experience is for life.

Lots of ideas for those that write policy or look after children in care. Top tips: Stop moving children from placement to placement; have a consistent adult in their lives and always question: would this be good enough for my child?

We are very grateful to those who shared their experiences during the chat. We acknowledge that this isn’t always easy. We would welcome anyone’s thoughts or feedback on their experience and how we might mitigate this going forward. 

If you find yourself affected by the conversation or want to talk about this months subject, RESEARCH, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Thanks again and see you on the **Monday 2nd of September 8pm** for our second #CareConvos.

#CareConvos are back!

On Monday 2nd September, 2019, we’re talking about how we might improve research practices, e.g. how we might do research better, involve people more meaningfully across the research cycle.

We’re also interested in novel ways to engage people from recruitment all the way to dissemination. We will also talk about how we can make research more accessible to care experienced people, practitioners and policy-makers.

We’re interested in everyone’s perspectives, whether you are a care experienced person, a carer, a social worker, teacher, work for a virtual school or in any other role with care experience people…and researchers!

– We are also really keen to engage those who do research on the care experience, what difficulties you experienced in carrying out your research and what novel solutions you have used to tackles these

– We are aware that many of you straddle a number of these roles, please feel free to talk to us in any capacity. 

 – Remember to use the hashtag #CareConvos 

 – Please look after yourselves, only share what you are comfortable sharing and get in touch if you want to chat more.

The Perfect Job?

Imagine if you could design your perfect job. What would that look like?

I [Rosie] have been working at Oxford for an amazing seven weeks. I’m reflecting on how Aoife and I work together and what we are achieving. Her with the lovely Irish lilt who helps me feel at home with her welcoming foresight and inclusiveness; putting care experience at the 💜 of our research. Not only am I using life skills: organisational expertise; artistic ideas; librarian experience and social media prowess; but very importantly I’m delving into my own remembrance of care experience past and informing our knowledge exchange.

There’s more! Training if I want it; getting to know some amazing people and outside meetings in the most unusual surroundings. It really is turning into my perfect job.

Some of our projects are still being negotiated and planned – watch this space! However, I hope you will be as excited as we are and join us this Monday 5th Aug for our very first #CareConvos on Twitter @ 8pm. A discussion about the best ways to support the education of children in care.

Bring cake, coffee and come along if you are:

  • Care experienced
  • A social worker
  • A foster carer
  • A residential care worker
  • A teacher
  • A designated safeguarding lead
  • Working for a Virtual School
  • A researcher
  • Or just interested!

 

Supporting the education of children in care

We are very excited to be hosting our first Twitter conversation Monday 5th August from 8-9pm, join us at #CareConvos to chat! 

These are some of the questions we’ll be thinking about:

  • Who was the most significant person in your education journey?

  • How has that shaped you today?

  • Why do foster carers aspirations matter? And how can they make a difference?

  • What support helps children in care in education do well?

We also wanted to illustrate education messages through research and literature as a way to stimulate conversation.

1) Key messages from research around carer involvement in educational support of children in care:

Examples of education quotes from literature:

Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones‘.

Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte

Armansky read her [Salander’s] report over the weekend, several times, and spent part of Monday doing a half-hearted double-check of some of her assertions. Even before he began he knew that her information would prove to be accurate. Armansky was bewildered and also angry with himself for having so obviously misjudged her. He had taken her for stupid, maybe even retarded. He had not expected that a girl who had cut so many classes in school that she did not graduate could write a report so grammatically correct. It also contained detailed observations and information, and he quite simply could not comprehend how she could have acquired such facts‘. 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2005) by Stieg Larsson.

 


I felt it important that I draw your attention to Conor’s superb artistic skills. As a new pupil, he is a joy to witness. Whatever materials we use, he fashions something outstanding. But most wonderful of all is his drawing ability. I understand he has lived in a variety of places and I wonder if this escape in his art is a way of coping. In which case, as a lover of art, too, I urge you to make sure Conor has plenty of materials at his disposal and plenty of quiet time to develop his talent. In my fifteen years as a teacher he is, without question, the most gifted artist for his humble five years that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. Sincerely, Mrs Connelly.” 

-The Mountain in My Shoe (2016) by Louise Beech, (This excerpt describes a report about Connor, a young boy in foster care.)

 

*#OrphanStones from a collection by #CEP artist Saira-Jayne Jones