Care Experienced Conference team member Jackie McCartney @jacqueMccartney wrote this powerful and moving letter expose of the inadequacies of the notion 'corporate parent'. It details her experience of the lack of support she received from her corporate parents Birmingham Social services throughout her time in care and into adulthood. As Jackie describes "we didn't leave care, care left us!" She wrote the piece to illustrate to all those working in social care, local and national government the impact of continuing detrimental failures of the care system that impact upon children, young people and adults who endure a careless system and how the system must change and strive for better.
Jackie wrote the letter addressing local councillors after a difficult experience. She asked what a counsellor meant by their stating "I am a corporate parent" and they answered: "I go to meetings." This demonstrated a lack of true understanding of the vital and important role of corporate parents caring for their children and young people in their care. As Jackie reflects "the way it is written, was to impact people who thought being a corporate parent was just meetings. She made me so mad and angry. Which was good as it led me to write this." The document is used in its raw form now as part of training in Birmingham for any new corporate parents/councillors etc. They are not allowed to sign up until they have read the letter: "I’m proud to have told some of my story and I’m glad Birmingham use it as part of training." Read a PDF version here or the images below. Jackie has recently also been on BBC West Midlands to speak about accessing her care records which you can learn about and see here and she is speaking about her experience this Thursday 18th July at the MIRRA Symposium: Information Rights in Child Social Careby Department of Information Studies, UCL and The Care Leavers' Association for which you can still register to attend!
“It’s not just paper. You see to them it’s just paper, words on paper, but to the person who’s reading it, who it’s about, it’s everything. It’s their life.”(Susan, Care Leaver)
We are super proud of you Jackie for all the work you are doing to raise the profile of care experienced people and support bringing about important changes to the care system.