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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6148

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:33): Continuing my Youth Voice in Parliament campaign, I'd like to introduce Alex, a 23-year-old who has been in care from age 12 to 18. These are his words:

My care experience was a rollercoaster. One of the hardest things for me was that I had to move a lot. Every time I had to move, I was told without any warning or information on where I was going. I also wasn't asked where I would like to go and wasn't given any information about who I would be living with. I got moved to some areas which were very far away from my mum and this wasn't good for me. I also never got to meet any of my carers before I moved into the house. It made me feel really uncomfortable because it felt like living in a house with strangers … At one point, I was moving to a new placement every week. This made me feel like no one cared about me. No one ever explained to me why I was moving and this made me very confused.

I would like to see workers stay in their jobs longer so that they can really build a relationship with the young people. I would like workers to be there and talk to them so they can open up more. Let the child know you are there for them and care about how they feel. Some of the simple things you can do to build a relationship with young people are:

At the end of the week, send a text asking how they are or how their day has been.

…   …   …

If the case worker is honest, the young person can also be open.

…   …   …

I think each residential placement should have a life skills set up within the house and all residents should attend these workshops. This would have helped me when I left care, because I had to figure all that out by myself.

Thank you so much, Alex. It was a pleasure to meet you. You are an extraordinary young man.