A 14-year-old English student wrote a heartfelt letter to her school council to oppose what she considers discriminatory language around children raised in kinship care.
In a letter addressed to her School’s Council, Louise (not her real name) expresses her opposition to the school using outdated terminology and harmful stereotypes to refer to kinship children. “Only using negatives can plant a thought in all children’s brains that children in care are going to do badly in life” says the student, who demands to be treated with the same respect as other communities fighting for their rights.
Louise and her siblings have been in the care of her aunt Carol since her parents were unable to care for them.
Louise is a testament that with the right support, children in kinship care can flourish and live a happy life. Read the letter she sent to her school council demanding better treatment for children in carer:
Dear School Council,
Recently, I have noticed that the school has been using the words “looked after children” in a negative perspective. This is making me feel upset and annoyed. This is because people often tarnish all of us with the same brush and along with that thought they assume that children in care cannot do well in school/life.
The phrase ‘looked after children’ (LAC) has been changed nationally to children in care (CIC).For example, the school has used “many looked after children get involved in County Lines” or “looked after children often have eating disorders”. When people say this, in my head I am thinking, why don’t they include the ones who don’t suffer from these problems? Only using negatives can plant a thought in all children’s brains that children in care are going to do badly in life.
My auntie and uncle have really tried hard in courses and training to help me and my siblings to break that negative cycle. They put in boundaries and guidance to set us on the path of getting a good education and teaching us the fundamental skills of life.
When school speak about the LGBTQ+ community, they are cautious of how they phrase their points. This is so they don’t upset or come across to people as homophobic. Why can’t they be like that when talking about children in care?
As my siblings grow up, I am passionate about how children in care are perceived. I don’t want them growing up thinking that being a child in care is a bad thing. When, personally, it had changed our lives forever, in the best way possible.