The first ever summit for children and young people in care and care leavers in Wales will take place today (Saturday 3rd December).
The Exploring Radical Reform Summit, at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, will bring young people with experience of living in care and Welsh Government Ministers together to explore wide-ranging reforms to care for young people in Wales.
40 young leaders with experience of care will attend the summit. The actor Michael Sheen, patron of Voices from Care Cymru, will also provide a video message to the event.
The summit is part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to explore radical reform of care services for children. The First Minister will attend, along with the Ministers for Education and Social Justice and the Deputy Ministers for Social Services and Mental Health.
Brendan Roberts, a young ambassador and one of the summit’s co-chairs, said:
The Young Ambassadors are all really looking forward to the summit. This is a unique opportunity for Welsh Ministers to hear the real lived experiences of children and young people who are, or have been, in care and understand the need for change from our point of view. We will develop a shared vision of what radically reformed services will feel like for children and young people and what they will deliver.
Just as importantly - this is not a ‘one off’. We are looking forward to working with Ministers after the summit, to share the Vision with everyone who provides services for care-experienced children and young people and to help work out how we turn the Vision into reality.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
We have committed to explore radical reform of care services for children and young people. To do that successfully, it’s vital we put young people with experience of care at the heart of those conversations and ensure they’re fully engaged in any changes we want make to the system.
Michael Sheen said:
As patron of Voices From Care Cymru I am pleased to see Welsh Ministers taking real time to listen to care-experienced young people. Only if their voices are truly heard and acted upon will the Government be able to deliver on the radical reform of services that is so needed.
I'm so proud of our Young Ambassadors. Their courage in sharing often painful experiences, their hard work and their commitment will make a huge difference to the next generation of care-experienced children and young people.
The Deputy Minister for Social Services and Children, Julie Morgan, said:
This vital work is about a whole-system change to care for children and young people, ensuring they only enter care when it is the best option for them and in an environment where they are secure and healthy and which helps them develop as people.
I’m very much looking forward to the Summit, which will bring young people and us as government ministers together so we can learn directly from their experiences and put what we learn into practice.