Part of TVF’s evaluation process for our event Can you See Me? The future of listening in the care system in February 2020 at the GLA, involved a group of young researchers, across different disciplines to evaluate and share their experience of being a participant. They presented their findings at the event and created short reports.
Here you can find one of these reports by the evaluator Davida:
in exactly the same words as it was used originally.
The Verbatim Project did just that. No middlemen, no censorship – just young people at the forefront of their truth.
78,150 of our young people are in care which makes up less than one 1% of the population, making them the most underrepresented group in the UK. Like many others, my first introduction to the care system was either ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ or fly on the wall documentaries speaking to criminals that have come through the care system. For too long, young people in care have had their narratives written for them – something that cannot continue for much longer.
Being invited to witness something as radical as “The Future Of Listening In The Care System” was not only an honour, but a hypothesis proven right. The hypothesis being that, given the right tools, the potential that young people have is absolutely limitless. To use the word radical while describing the event seems ill-fitting, however, in a day and age where profit matters more than people and listening to others is deemed as a ‘lack of priority’, gathering to hear these stories for what they are was nothing short of transformative.
I was lucky enough to sit through a range of discussions and activities, facilitated by the young people from CLICK Wandsworth, where a range of issues were discussed, and the care system was thoroughly dissected.
We opened the day with a piece performed by those involved with The Verbatim Formula, reciting, word for word, testimonials from those who had either been in the care system or currently are in the care system, keeping the element of verbatim integral to the whole day. This was followed by a word association game where the facilitators and participators were invited to talk about how words that were picked from conversations from people in care made us feel. A man who had been through the care system himself had picked the word “luck” which caused a few provoking conversations through the day. Why is it described as luck when someone is able to live a fulfilling life after leaving care?
I remember Dan, one of the young facilitators, picked ‘trust’ and the lack thereof in the care system. Trust was a word that we kept revisiting throughout the day, from Dan’s speed dating style session where we discussed how to incorporate trust in the care system – how can these young people build adequate trust if there’s a constant turnover of social workers, who continue to handle sensitive information with lack of care and consideration? Trust was highlighted differently in another activity where we were in a meeting with a ‘social worker’ with a range of scenarios, from a boy who was going to be moved to a secure housing unit for being secretive and having more things than normal to another boy who was constantly running away from placements due to his mother living close by. The interaction with the social worker (played by one of the young people) will stick with me for a long time. The lack of interest, genuine care and patience taken by the social worker is something that shocked me. It showed me that kids in care are constantly treated like a burden. How are these kids ever meant to build a trusting bond with the people they work with if they’re constantly made to feel like an inconvenience?
I want to wrap this blog up with something that I found deeply harrowing and till today cannot fathom.
Young people in care are given £57.80 per week to live off. Local authorities are claiming that ‘there’s not enough resources’, but let’s put things into perspective.
As of 2019, the Ministry of Defence are set to spend £5billion on nuclear weapons and forms of defence.
In 2011, an inquest found that UK government officials spent a combination of £1billion on their complimentary credit cards.
After reading these statistics, I dare someone tell me that there’s “not enough resources”.