On World Care Day consider the stories of children
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > February 16 is World Care Day, highlighting the challenges of those in out of home care

February 16 is World Care Day, highlighting the challenges of those in out of home care

by Freya Lucas

February 14, 2024

Out of home care, sometimes known as foster care, involves a child, or children, being removed from their family of origin for their own health and safety. 


On 16 February the challenges, stories and triumphs of those who have out of home care as part of their life story are shared as part of World Care Day. 


World Care Day is a significant day for those working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) because, unfortunately, some of the children with whom ECEC professionals work will experience being taken into out of home care situations. 


Latest figures (from 2022) note that there are 45,400 Australian children and young people in out of home care.


“You never grow out of being in foster care,” a 28-year-old woman who spent most of her teenage years in foster and residential care shared. 


A decade later and now living in a home she has purchased, she continues to experience stigma due to her experience of living in the care system as a child.


This World Care Day, MacKillop Family Services (MacKillop) is encouraging people to deepen their understanding of children in care, and celebrate the outcomes they achieve, despite a challenging start to their lives.


MacKillop’s World Care Day campaign gives a voice to young people with a care experience by enabling them to share their stories, so people in the community can see life in care through a different lens.


MacKillop’s CEO Robyn Miller sees first-hand how young people in care face judgment and discrimination, which impacts their wellbeing and future prospects.


“Nationally, MacKillop looks after more than 3,000 children and young people in residential and foster care each year,” she shared. 


“We know every one of them is dealing with the trauma of leaving their family. They also face barriers to staying at their regular school and keeping in touch with school friends; keeping connected to their sporting team or dance class; and they often lack family support to fall back on.”


“What inspires me on a daily basis is the extraordinary courage and resilience of these young people, who often go on to post-secondary education, trade apprenticeships, become community leaders and create their own safe and nurturing families.” 


Ms Miller hopes World Care Day will help to address the stigma that people with lived experience of the out of home care system face. 


“We know that growing up in care does not make children ‘less than’ their peers and should not pre-determine a future with lesser outcomes,” she added.


“We hope that by sharing their stories, we can challenge this portrayal, address the stigma, and celebrate the remarkable courage and achievements of young people with a care experience.” 


Visit www.mackillop.org.au/CareDay for more information or to hear the stories of young people in care. 

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