News: Prime Minister Salutes Young People In Care
Wednesday, 17th March 2004
Two youngsters from Fleetwood and Preston were among thirty young people from across the country to receive a personal letter of congratulations from Prime Minster, Tony Blair, at a special event at the House of Commons recently. The letters were presented by Minister for Children and Families, Margaret Hodge MP.
The event, arranged by Lancaster and Wyre MP, Hilton Dawson, coincided with the BBC's Taking Care season to celebrate the talents and achievements of children and young people who live away from home and who are looked after by local authorities and foster families.
Mr Dawson said:
"While we're trying to improve the care system it's all too easy to overlook the qualities of young people who have survived experiences which would floor most people and despite all the odds go on to lead happy, positive and successful lives."
Ann-Marie and Sammy were both nominated by Lancashire County Council Social Services to represent the 1,300 looked after children placed in foster care and residential care in Lancashire.
Talking on BBC Radio Lancashire, Ann-Marie from Fleetwood, said:
"Being in care has been a really good experience. I went to Preston every week in the summer and I got to work in the Social Service's headquarters helping in administration. I also helped make a questionnaire asking young people in care what they thought of where they lived and about moving into care. My confidence has developed and I've done really well at college and I'd really like to thank everyone who has helped me.
"It was very exciting to go down to London - a time I will never forget - and very nice to meet Hilton Dawson. I am glad I got to meet other young people in care."
Sammy alongside Clair Borrill, from the Children's Rights Service, also took the opportunity to present the Minister with a copy of their recent LACES training video and information on the Directorate's Young people's panel.
Clair Borrill said of the event:
"It was fantastic to attend such a positive event for looked after children. We need to keep this debate and positive image about the achievements of young people in care ongoing throughout Lancashire."
At the event, Margaret Hodge announced to the audience of young people, carers, social workers, MPs and children's charities that the government had listened to young people and is to issue guidance to local authorities on the delegation of decisions to carers on overnight stays for young people in care.
Discussions are now taking place with the Department for Education and Skills to ensure that the celebration of the achievements of young people in care becomes an annual event.
For further information please contact: Andrew Lynn on 01772 534372