Myself and one of the Directors at Chrysalis Care, attended the Fostering Network’s Annual conference last week. I am still reflecting on the panel speeches given by two care-experienced young people from the ‘Who Cares? Trust’, Ashley Williamson and Kevani Kanda.
As someone who has worked with children and young people for more than twenty five years, I know only too well the power of lived experience in conveying what is important. When this is coupled with maturity and crystal clear articulation, no policy or well rehearsed speech can top it.
Ashley and Kevani reached into my heart and spoke the very truth of a truly child centred system in a way that only their experience could provoke. This was the only moment throughout the day that I put down my ‘Ipad’, stopped taking notes and just listened. I listened as Kevani spoke of the legacy of multiple moves upon insecure attachments in her adult relationships. I listened as Ashley told us of the necessity for transparency in communication and how withholding information can cause more harm than good. I listened to myself acknowledging that the message they gave reflects that of so many young people I have met over the years and in how what they implore of us is actually so very, very basic. As Kevani concluded, in spite of the emphasis on financial expenditure and current economic pressures, much of what is needed has no price tag. Thank you for this very courageous reminder of what is at the heart of the matter.
Joanna Oliver, Strategic Development Executive