June 2 2015

Standing up for young people leaving care: Darcie’s story

Darcie has been a passionate advocate for the need for after care services for over eight years.

My life now is as a stay at home wife and mother to two boys. I have just started back at CREATE after a break of a year and a half after the birth of my second son. I am planning on working in the youth sector where my passions lie.

The transition process was left to the last minute and I was close to homelessness so my friend’s parents decided that they would become foster parents for me so I could move in with them just before my 18th birthday and I could stay with them as long as I needed to.

In care I didn’t know how to advocate for myself, it took training from CREATE for me to realise that I did have power, that my opinion mattered.  I did lots of advocacy about transition from care because it was something that I and everyone else around me was going through – and it felt that the way young people were being treated wasn’t fair –being made to feel like you are a second class citizen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

When I think back to both my personal experience and my experience as an advocate on this issue; I remember often feeling despair; that there was no way forward, there was no plan for me if something were to go wrong and it seemed like there were no options.

I saw other young people struggling after care because they had no-one to turn to, some of them would come to CREATE to find support and connect with other young people in a similar situation; but CREATE didn’t have the capacity to provide the support that some people needed and they couldn’t tell us where to go because there was nowhere to go.

I feel hopeful and excited now that there’s now a Plan B or C for young people transitioning from care, that they have somewhere to turn to. There’s different avenues now, it’s not just “you’re 18 the plan didn’t work

out, you’re going to be on the streets.” These new services put us closer to being on the same playing field as everyone else.

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