Breaking Stigma, Building Community: Empowering Looked After Children
In the landscape of child welfare, one unfortunate reality persists: the stigma surrounding looked after children. Misconceptions and societal biases are pervasive and leads to feelings of alienation and low self-worth. This can perpetuate a cycle of marginalisation, hindering their ability to thrive and reach their full potential.
But change is possible, and it starts with us – the practitioners in the field. Here are some key steps we can take to challenge and change the narrative:
1. Education & Awareness:
Educate ourselves and others about the realities faced by looked after children and how we can all take a trauma-informed lens to foster empathy and understanding.
2. Language Matters:
Use respectful and empowering language to reshape perceptions and attitudes.
3. Neighbourhood Engagement:
Initiate open dialogue, tackle the tough questions head-on, host community events, and promote any opportunities that bridge the gap between our children and their neighbours.
4. Storytelling & Sharing:
Share stories of triumph and resilience to challenge stereotypes and inspire empathy within the community.
5. Roots to Place:
Local sports/youth clubs, Sunday park runs, favourite ice cream spots – create the rhythm and rituals that give our children attachment to their communities.
6. Empower to serve:
Our children can make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through volunteering, raising money for charity or from any small act of service/kindness. Show them how.
By taking these steps, we can break down barriers, celebrate the strengths of looked after children, and build a brighter future for all. Join us in creating inclusive communities where stigma is replaced with empathy and support.