posted on February 24th, 2020

Young people from Northern Ireland urge society to ‘reimagine’ life in care as part of global Care Day 2020

VOYPIC, the local charity which works in partnership with children and young people living in care, recently hosted a ‘THIS IS ME’ talent showcase in the ICC Belfast to celebrate international Care Day 2020 (Fri 21 Feb).

In its fifth year, Care Day 2020 focused on and championed the young people and children who live in care, with the overriding theme #REIMAGINING.  A range of events and activities were organised across Northern Ireland to mark the occasion, with the grand finale taking the form of the ‘THIS IS ME’ event, featuring young people engaged with VOYPIC.

Since Christmas, groups of young people from Belfast, Bangor, Ballymena, Lurgan and Derry/Londonderry worked with professional artists to prepare for the ‘THIS IS ME’ event. Talents showcased included singing, dance, drumming and circus skills.

Alicia Toal, chief executive, VOYPIC (Voice Of Young People In Care) discussed: “ Some think that children in care cause trouble or don’t do well at school. We need to challenge those myths. On Care Day, we celebrate the talents, achievements and identity of the many young people in care who inspire us all, from right across Northern Ireland.”

As of March 2019, Northern Ireland had its highest number of children in care since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.  The Department’s Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland also show that four-fifths of the children in care here were in foster care placements (79%) while 11% were placed with parents, 6% in residential care and 4% in other placements. (Statistics for children in care in Northern Ireland (at 31 March 2019 – the most recent statistics from the Department of Health)

The young people participating in ‘THIS IS ME’ performed to an invited audience of peers, carers and professionals from across Northern Ireland.

Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) joined with similar organisations from across the UK and Ireland to call on the United Nations to designate Care Day as the International Day of Care Experienced People, to help support and promote awareness of children living in care.