“I think that bin bags represent rubbish and by children in foster care using them, that would signify they are portrayed as rubbish too…. I had a green holdall that I had put my name on. This is because it was mine and nobody could take it away from me.” – Anonymous UK Care Leaver
"Nearly 1 in 5 children aged 12-15 who recently entered care had two or more home moves in a year – that means packing up their whole lives and getting to know a new set of carers every few months. So it is unsurprising that one teenager told my team she feels like a “parcel” being moved around.”
“The sad thing about it was that over the many years of my life I could move everything I owned in 2 bags.” Anonymous UK Care Leaver
“I have worked with other social workers who have had ‘no choice’ but to resort to using bin bags for an emergency move but who also felt very guilty for doing so.”
“For me any time I see the use of bin bags to move a young person is one time too many”
“I have a suitcase in the boot of my car. It contains a number of hard, sturdy bags that are useful to move young people’s belongings in” I can use them to undertake an emergency move and lend them to other social workers who need to do the same. By having a bag available to them, I am taking practical steps to prevent the use of bin bags to move children and young people who do not deserve to be made to feel that their belongings are worthless and rubbish”. Social worker
“When I meet children in care, I am constantly struck by their strength, talents and resilience. Often these are vulnerable children who have had to cope with incredibly difficult situations alone. Perhaps because of this, they often appear to be older than they are.”
“What can be forgotten when meeting these children, particularly the older teens among them, is that they are just that – children. However independent they might seem, these are teenagers just like any others, who need care and attention from adults, if their family are unable to provide it.”
Anne Longfield, ex-Children’s Commissioner, OBE
Saira-Jayne is Director at Artifacts CEP CIC & Your Life Your Story.
She is a lived experience social worker and here she describes first hand her feelings of worth after being given bin bags to move her worldly possessions during her time in the foster care system.