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Backed by the Children’s Commissioner for England, IMO (“in my opinion”) is a peer-led digital platform where children in care and care leavers share first-hand stories, experiences and advice with others in a similar situation. The project exists to challenge perceptions of looked-after children and shine a light on their experiences of the care system.

Foster Care Fortnight, which takes place from 11-22 May, is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise awareness of fostering and highlight the great work foster carers are doing. To ensure the voices and experiences of children in care and care leavers are represented throughout the fortnight, IMO invited care leavers from across the country to come together virtually during the lockdown to create a collaborative poem about how they define care. Here is the result.


A collaborative poem created by people with care experience

Foster care is nothing like Tracey Beaker

Social workers changing all the time

Having to tell my story again and again

Authors of no authority, yet they know best

Social workers, alcoholism, LAC reviews

What was lacking was love

A misguided path to independence

And a consequence of a childhood betrayed

Care is having financial assistance thrown at a situation

When it isn’t always the answer

My PlayStation was imagination

Dream cast new realities to avoid the thought of isolation

It’s OK to say; “Hey, I need some help, I’m not OK this day”

Care is isolation

Care is loneliness

But care has more than one definition

Care is many things

It’s love and it’s loss

It’s fear and it’s security

It’s hurt, but it’s resilience

Care is love

Care is kindness

Care is passion that will never die

Care gave me a safe space to grow up in

Care is hope

A chance to allow someone who cares to look after me

My care experience was the birth of my new life

I care for others will love and compassion

I was cared for as a stranger and accepted as family

You see, I define care as an asset to humanity

When harnessed and properly understood

A care leaver’s vulnerability can be like a superpower

Being in care meant that I was different

But my differences gave me a new family

My friends, my people, my world

My differences gave me a life I never dreamt of having

True care is hidden in bureaucracy

But true care will shine a light.

Find out more about IMO and follow the project on Twitter.

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