FICE Croatia, Eurochild candidate member (to be endorsed at the next General Assembly), have just launched the “LeaveCare-LiveLife” project, bringing together over 40 young care leavers this week in Zagreb. They will work for five days to develop recommendations for better care services. The Care Leavers are representing Croatia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. The recommendations developed through their mutual knowledge of care services will be delivered to European-level decision makers, in preparation for the final conference at the premises of the EU institutions in Brussels in the early months of 2020.
This joint training experience is the third step of the Erasmus Plus Programme funded project titled "LeaveCare-LiveLife: Building the European Care Leavers Network for Youngsters Leaving Foster and Residential Care and Actively Living and Participating in Life”. Launched in December 2017, the project will last 28 months. It is designed to give young care leavers (those who are leaving the community, foster care, or a family home) the tools to be better prepared for their future independent lives. The project partners include Associazione Agevolando from Italy as the project leader, FICE Croatia, Care Leavers Association from the United Kingdom, Care Leavers Network Ireland and TIBERIUS Association from Romania.A
The project has already been agreed and tested with more than 150 youngsters as a good methodology of group participation. The Care Leavers Participation Groups (CLPGs) will provide their recommendations to the decision makers, professionals, and journalists to help improve the situation of care leavers. We have held training for the associations’ staff in Maynooth, Ireland, and a further training conference for 30 professionals – educators, social workers, and psychologists from the partners’ countries in Bucharest, Romania. The two training sessions were aimed at increasing awareness regarding the issue of youth participation in leaving care and to promote a change in mentality towards the active role of young people in the decisions affecting their lives.
In addition, the project will create a virtual exchange platform for young people with care experience: offering another level of support (alongside in person, direct exchanges) as a space for their participation and active citizenship. Beyond the project, partners are creating the European Care Leavers Network, a stable organization based in Brussels that will protect the rights of care leavers in every EU country through direct action. Policies and legislation about leaving the care system can significantly differ across Europe.
Using the voices of care leavers, their youth participation, and their direct experience of leaving care, LeaveCare-LiveLife aims to promote a change in mentality towards the role of young people in decisions affecting their lives. The final aim of these promoted activities is to achieve a better situation for care leavers in every EU country and to inform and change legislations and policies at EU and national levels.