I have been in care most of the time since I was a baby – it’s like
a second home to me. I kept flitting in and out of care until
recently, when my mum went to prison, and I have been in a home now
for a while.
I go and see my mum regularly. She feels bad that she isn’t there
to look after me, and it’s important for her to know what’s going
on in my life, so I have to make sure I tell her everything. I go
to the children’s rights office most days. I do some painting, or
help with admin jobs, whatever I think needs doing. I feel safe
Where I live, social services have a scheme to give young people in
care some special work experience, and we get extra pocket money
for this. I went to talk to some staff and foster carers about
handling violence and aggression recently. It was about being
passive, assertive, or aggressive. Me and another girl went, and
someone from children’s rights came too to support us. At first it
was nerve-racking, but it did get easier to talk, and the staff who
were there really did listen to us, which felt good.
I also did a report for the Bugle (Lancashire social
services’ staff magazine) about a conference on young people and
forced marriages. My report said that the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office, together with the Department of Health, recently drafted
guidelines for social services concerning young people facing
forced marriages. The event was attended by professionals from
social services, other statutory bodies, voluntary organisations,
police and representatives of ethnic minority communities, from
across the North West. We spoke to Eleanor Stobart and Daniel
Painter from the Foreign Office.
Daniel gave us an insight into the guidelines. Young people often
feel under pressure to move from the UK to another country. Once in
that country, they sometimes need help to get back to the UK, and
further help when they get back. I hope the guidelines will help
social workers and other professionals deal with these young people
in the best possible ways.
The other benefits of the day were the opportunity to network, to
get to know other professionals and what jobs they do, to enhance
working together, and to raise awareness and recognition of the
problems facing young people and communities. Overall the day was a
success, with lots of the people attending commenting on how
interesting and educational the conference was.
When I went to the conference I had to go and speak to people to
find out what they were doing. Again, someone came from children’s
rights to help me.
The staff at the home think it’s good that I wrote something that
was printed in the Bugle, but the most important thing was that my
mum was dead proud of me.
Jasmine is 15 years old and has been looked after by
Lancashire social services for most of her life. She has not
attended school for some time, but she is hoping that she can
attend a local college for her final year.