Why “Our Care Our Say” is important to me

In 2019 I had the honour of giving a keynote speech to a National Reviewing Officer Practice Development Day in Scotland and to hear about the Scottish Independent Care Review.

Scotland’s Review has been praised for its “unprecedented” scope; placing children and care-experienced adults at the heart of a “radical overhaul” of the country’s children’s social care system.

I am clear that that the voice of people with care experience must be central to England’s first Independent Care Review: only through listening to the voices of experience can policy makers truly begin to understand the impact of the care system and what is needed.

Through a survey and a seminar, “Our Care Our Say” will gather views about what the Care Review should cover and how it should be run and present these to the independent chair of the Care Review. “Our Care Our Say” embodies the value “nothing about us, without us” and the voices of care experienced people of all ages must be heard.

A bit of history and lessons learned

In 2019 the first ever Care Experienced Conference was held at Liverpool Hope University.

The conference was conceived, planned and organised by care-experienced people and a small band of supporters, giving voice to 180 care-experienced people aged from 14 to 82years.

The Care Experienced Conference reports present important messages about the need for change for those who are currently in care or who have been in care. It created the opportunity for policy makers to make promises; a joining of hearts and minds focused on what could and should be changed.

The Care Experienced Conference captured eloquently why love matters so much. There are few greater experts on why love is so important than those who did not experience love in a system claiming to care.

I hear too many friends say few seem to “care to listen”. So, we are gathering ‘folded chairs’ to have a seat at the table, to speak truth to power. And we are calling for a joining of hands. As Care experienced people and friends, we all want to move in the same direction: towards a better, more just, more caring system.

About Me

I have worked for approximately 30 years in local roles in Adult and Children’s Services. I am a social worker by profession. I have been the elected chair of the National IRO Managers Partnership (NIROMP) since 2016. Follow @SharonLMartin1

Our Care Our Say

If you are a care experience person of any age you can give your views on what the forthcoming Care Review in England should cover and how it should be run. Complete the “Our Care Our Say“ survey HERE and you can register for the seminar to be held on Saturday 7th November  HERE.

The Care Experienced Conference website has a searchable directory of support services and helpful information for care experienced people of all ages created by and for the community. You can access the website via the following website: HERE

Meet the team putting the event together: HERE

NIROMP’s vision and priorities are founded on a commitment to amplify the voices of people with care experience, for example through our National Youth Ambassadors Advisory Group (NYAAG) and through broader advocacy and support of children in care and care experienced people.

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