According to the National Standards for Out-Of-Home Care (2011) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children and young people are entitled to opportunities to live a full life and participate in decisions which affect their lives, during their time in care.
Sadly, in Australia, children and young people in care remain an extremely vulnerable group who struggle to enjoy the same rights as their cohorts who have not had a care experience. In 2013, when surveyed on their experience of the out-of-home-care system, 80% of children and young people identified placement instability as a key concern which impacted on their schooling, maintenance of friendships, relationships with carers and an overall sense of safety. All participants felt it was important for them to have a say regarding issues across all areas of their life. Alarmingly however, less than 30% were aware of their care plan and 40% could not contact their caseworker for support as often as they would have liked. When leaving care, a lack of support and access to social resources mean that young people are more likely to experience homelessness, substance abuse, unemployment and social exclusion compared to their peers.
Who is CREATE Foundation?
As the national independent peak consumer body representing all children and young people with a care experience, CREATE Foundation works to ensure that children and young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and live a full life.
Our mission is to:
- Connect children and young people to each other, CREATE and their community
- Empower young people to build self-confidence, self-esteem and skills which enable them to have a voice and be heard by key decision makers
- Change the care system in consultation with children and young people, to improve policies, practices, services and increase community awareness
In addition to policy development, research and systems advocacy, we work with children and young people in care through our programs:
- clubCREATE: A club for children and young people aged 0-25 who are in care or have a care experience. Membership to clubCREATE entitles young people to all sorts of giveaways, including clubCREATE Magazine which has regular updates on upcoming events, workshops and grants as well as a hand-written birthday card every year. When entering care for the first time, members also receive an Entering Care Kit full of goodies!
- CREATE Your Future and Speak Up Workshops: We run workshops and camps where young people learn skills for independent living and become direct advocates in the care system. We support our Young Consultants to train caseworkers, foster carers and participate in key conferences and sector events.
- Youth Advisory Group: Every month, we run a Youth Advisory Group where young people tell us what they think about the care system.
- Connection Events: We have events for the whole family all year round to help connect carers and children with each other and to build a stronger community. This year, we are giving away tickets to the circus, Luna Park and Event Cinemas just to name a few!
How can YOU help support children and young people in care?
If you are working in a busy out-of-home care office and are passionate about supporting kids in care, you are the ideal candidate to be a CREATE Mate! We rely on caseworkers like yourself to help us connect with young people and children in care. By being a CREATE Mate you will be the first to receive information on upcoming events, workshops, competitions and grants for children and young people with a care experience. As the key liaison person in your office, you play a critical role in helping us spread the word to colleagues, clients and carers about upcoming events and the benefits of becoming a clubCREATE member. Our programs* are all free and best of all, they empower children and young people to have a voice, gain life skills and connect with each other!
If there is not already a CREATE Mate in your office and you would like to nominate yourself, simply provide your contact details to CREATE NSW State Coordinator, Danielle Schmid: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the CREATE Family today and let’s work together to give children and young people the life they deserve!
* For more details on our programs, please visit crreate.org.au