James Reilly reveals new youth care resources

Dept for Children developed material with young people to help others entering care

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly has launched a new resource designed to help children and young people going into care.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly has launched a new resource designed to help children and young people going into care. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A new resource designed to help children and young people going into care was launched today by Minister for Children Dr James Reilly.

The material, a storybook and a set of guidebooks, has been designed by children and young people who are themselves in care.

Mr Reilly said the advice and information being provided in the books benefits immeasurably from the experience of persons who know at first hand the real issues involved.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the child and family agency Tusla worked closely with the children and young people to ensure that the information provided would be of value to children entering care for the first time.

Mr Reilly said it is important that children in care are listened to and treated equally.

“We can all endure the ups and downs in life so much better if we’re all being treated the same,” he said.

Important milestone

Mr Reilly said the material marks an important milestone in providing information to children going into care.

“Nobody can understand the things that really matter to children in care like the children themselves. Anyone who looks at these books can see that this is an exciting development. Working together, all those involved have produced something really valuable,” he said.

Eight children and young people from Tactic (Teenagers and Children Talking in Care) made a presentation at the launch.

They said good things about living in care include being in a safe place, having a proper routine and getting regular meals.

The negative things about being in care are not being able to see other family members growing up and “social workers knowing stuff about us that we cannot know ourselves.”

They said they are proud of their storybook for children between the ages of two and seven who are going into care called A New Home for Sam, which can be read to children by their foster parents.

“We think that our guidebooks for older children will reassure young people and inform them about how they can have a voice in decisions made about their own care.”

Tusla also published its new Alternative Care manual for practitioners, which was developed in consultation with the children and young people.

Chairperson of Tusla Norah Gibbons said the development of an Alternative Care handbook is an invaluable guide to standard practice and serves to remind us of the importance of building and maintaining supportive relationships with affected children and their families.

“Tusla is committed to ensuring that the views of children and young people are central to its work. Both of today’s resources demonstrate the value of listening to young people and incorporating their views,” she said.