A revolution of care and love is coming; will you join us?

Ashley Cameron, 26, a Stirling Labour activist and currently a 4th year Honours student at the University of Stirling, says care experienced young people are standing up, fighting back, and winning. 

 

In high school, I recall being thrown against the brick wall of the bike sheds and punched in the face. I remember being taunted in classes every single day. And my crime?  I lived in a kids’ home.

Today, I’m a campaigner who champions the rights of care experienced young people in Scotland. I’ve even been given awards for the work I do, something I just never imagined would be possible because of my past.

Why is it that just because we grew up in care means we are worth less than any other person?

Let’s face it, care experienced young people in Scotland have been failed time and time again. While the Children and Young People Scotland Act will go some way to providing more choice and extended support to these young people, it’s simply nowhere near enough.

In 2017 Scotland, young people from a care background like me are still 20 times more likely to see the inside of a prison than a classroom. In fact, up to 50% of Scotland’s current prison population have had experience of care at some point in their lives.

People are three times more likely to donate money to an animal shelter than to a children’s home.

This is not new information. The statistics haven’t really changed in the last couple of years, never mind the last 20 years. But where is the outrage?

The sad truth is there is none. That’s why we care experienced young people are taking our futures into our own hands. For the last four years care experienced young people across Scotland have been proudly, if nervously at first, standing up and claiming their care identity. We are fed up of being misrepresented in the media and in statistics relating to homelessness, imprisonment and mental health issues. We’re fighting back with a movement based on care, love and listening.

Slowly, but surely, we are winning that fight.

Just three short years ago, we were successful in achieving new rights for other care experienced young people in Scotland through the Children and Young People Scotland Act. And now with Fiona Duncan in the lead we’re going to change the way Scotland cares for its most vulnerable children and young people. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to change this culture of blaming us, when we find ourselves in care through no fault of our own.

We’re not just changing hearts and minds, we are creating fundamental and lasting change. We, the care experienced, invite you to join us, to open your hearts and minds to the realities of our lives. We want you to spread a message of hope and love to future generations of care experienced young people in Scotland. It’s too late for me, but it’s not for the more than 15,000 in care right now.

I care about the future of care experienced young people in Scotland. Do you?

 

Want to find out more about the care revolution? Watch Laura Beveridge’s Ted X talk.

Want to find out what it’s like to grow up in care? Watch the STV documentary Who Cares?

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7 thoughts on “A revolution of care and love is coming; will you join us?

  1. “It’s time to change this culture of blaming us”

    Ashley interesting article have not got a clue what your on about by the quote above, its my view that most if not all folks are sympathetic to anybody who was taken into care through no fault of their own, I would say that for a young person leaving care there should be a statutory law for them to be rehoused and to live independently to say the age of 25. As for crime and mental health issues it has been shown that anybody from any background are prone to be affected by these two issues and finally I think that this issue on the whole would be better off raised by people who are apolitical rather than politicians.

    1. “As for crime and mental health issues it has been shown that anybody from any background are prone to be affected by these two issues”

      Talk about a tin ear. The point raised is that care experienced young people have a significantly greater incidence of these challenges.

    2. Ted, When I was reviewing the provision of care for young people in East Ayrshire, the amount of opposition and negative views of people in many communities shocked us. I also taught in the Gorbals and had some kids in care. Similarly, they faced significantly greater negativity even than children in know dysfunctional families. There is already legislation that requires throughcare for children leaving care homes, but like much else in Local Government, it is very difficult to deliver due to the cuts from the SNP Government that have decimated Social Work

  2. Ashley, that’s one of the most necessary and thought provoking articles that I have read in a long time.

    Well done.

  3. Ashley you are talking from experience. Well done .Shame on whoever punched you that day. I was bullied at primary school .We moved to Ayrshire when I was 8. I was beaten up by my new classmates on my first day . For the rest of that term i was kept in a classroom on my own during break. My crime i came from Glasgow . That was in 63 . Today i am 62 . I still remember what happened and who did it. I was kept in the classroom because the staff thought that was the only way to protect me. That classroom had a large window that faced onto the playground. I remember all those faces pressed against the window . It was like being in a zoo . The headmaster eventually put all the Glaswegians in the same class . Gang warfare raged on my estate for years i had no part in that. Saw it every night

  4. Well said, Ashley. Many people are 100% behind you on this and it’s changing every day. Keep believing in what you are doing and saying.

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