Care leavers insieme a Zagabria, sognando Bruxelles

Il progetto “LeaveCare-LiveLife” ha permesso a 40 giovani care leavers di ritrovarsi insieme a Zagabria per cinque giorni e lavorare insieme per creare raccomandazioni per migliorare i servizi di accoglienza e la fase dell’uscita. I care leavers coinvolti provenivano da Croazia, Regno Unito, Irlanda, Italia, Moldavia, Romania e Ucraina. Hanno lavorato per condividere comuni esperienze e creare delle riflessioni che rivolgeranno ai decisori politici a livello europeo, in vista della conferenza che si svolgerà a Bruxelles nei primi mesi del 2020.

L’esperienza di questa formazione è il terzo step del progetto “LeaveCare-LiveLife: Building the European Care Leavers Network for youngsters leaving foster and residential care and actively living and participating in life, realizzato nell’ambito del programma Erasmus+. Avviato nel dicembre del 2017, il progetto ha durata di 28 mesi. Lo scopo è quello di offrire ai giovani care leavers (ragazzi che hanno vissuto esperienze di accoglienza in comunità, affido o casa-famiglia) gli strumenti per prepararsi al meglio per una vita indipendente.

I partner del progetto sono: Agevolando (capofila) dall’Italia, Fice dalla Croazia, la Care leavers’Association del Regno Unito, il Care Leaver’s Network dell’Irlanda e Associazione Tiberius dalla Romania. Stanno testando con oltre 150 care leavers una comune metodologia partecipativa. I focus group condotti nei diversi paesi porteranno all’elaborazione di Raccomandazioni per i decisori politici, i professionisti, i giornalisti per migliorare il sistema di tutela e la fase dell’uscita.

Prima di Zagabria si è svolto un meeting a Maynooth, in Irlanda, e una formazione per 30 professionisti – educatori, operatori sociali, psicologi delle organizzazioni partner – a Bucarest, in Romania. Sono emerse due particolari considerazioni: è necessario far crescere la consapevolezza dell’importanza dei processi partecipativi e promuovere un cambiamento di mentalità coinvolgendo maggiormente i care leavers nelle decisioni che li riguardano.

Inoltre, nell’ambito del progetto, è stata creata una piattaforma web come spazio virtuale in cui i giovani care leavers potranno confrontarsi e sperimentare la loro partecipazione e cittadinanza attiva. I partner daranno inoltre vita al “Care Leavers Network Europe”, un gruppo stabile che avrà sede a Bruxelles e si occuperà di tutelare i diritti dei care leavers. L’obiettivo finale è quello di migliorare la qualità di vita dei care leavers in tutti i paesi europei, migliorando la legislazione e le politiche attraverso l’esperienza e la voce dei care leavers stessi.

English version

The “LeaveCare-Livelife” project has brought 40 young care leavers together in Zagreb to work for five days to create recommendations for better care services. The Care Leavers are representing Croatia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.  Their work is sharing mutual knowledge and the recommendations created will be addressed to decision makers at European level, in preparation for the final conference to be held at the premises of the EU institutions in Brussels in the early months of 2020.

The joint training experience is the third main step of “LeaveCare-LiveLife: Building the European Care Leavers Network for youngsters leaving foster and residential care and actively living and participating in life“, the European project funded in the frame of the Erasmus Plus Programme. Launched in December 2017, the project lasts 28 months. It is aimed at giving young care leavers (leaving the community, foster care, a family home) the tools to be better prepared for their future independent lives. The project partners – Associazione Agevolando from Italy as project leader, FICE Croatia, Care Leavers Association from United Kingdom, Care Leavers Network Ireland and TIBERIUS Association from Romania – already agreed and tested with more than 150 youngsters a methodology of group participation. The Care Leavers Participation Groups, CLPGs –bring to the creation of Recommendations to the decision makers, professionals, journalists for improving the care leavers’ situation.  We have held training for the associations’ staff in Maynooth, Ireland and a further training conference for 30 professionals – educators, social workers, psychologists from the partners’ countries in Bucharest, Romania. The two relevant outputs were aimed at increasing the awareness about the issue of youth participation in leaving care and to promote change of mentality towards an active role of young people in the decisions affecting their lives.

In addition, the project is creating a virtual exchange platform for young people with care experience that goes alongside the direct exchanges, in person, as a space for their participation and active citizenship. Beyond the project, partners are engaged in creating the European Care Leavers Network, a stable organization based in Brussels that can protect the rights of care leavers in all the EU countries through their direct action. Policies and legislation about leaving the care system, in fact, can differ in a significant way in Europe.  The final aim of the promoted activities is to achieve a better situation for care leavers in all the EU countries and to inform and change legislations and policies at EU and national levels using the care leaver voice and experience.

a cura di Maria Chiara Vita Finzi

I commenti dei Care Leavers

“Still in emotional recovery from last week in Croatia for the Youth Exchange… not because it was a bad experience but because connecting with so many experiences has taken a lot to take in and digest. One thing that has shone through was the power of vulnerability… showing and sharing parts of the pain, lead to healing and connections and understanding.
The second was the importance and power of true participation, which in one way has left me feeling frustrated because so much of the care system and leaving care system isn’t built for the young persons participation.. 99% it’s actually non participation in the disguise of participation.. this has to change. The other is empowering because I saw the results of participation, and also time it takes to create a safe place for this.. it can be done.. and we deserve that space, totally and utterly. I know I may have come across as closed off or distant to some last week, and for that I am sorry.. as a care leaver and “professional” I have built ways to dealing with keeping my self “safe” when I am feeling overwhelmed… and at some points I was totally overwhelmed. One moment I was crying learning about the horrendous situations young people are still in, and the next I was having to switch up and run a session. I am so excited about the next steps for this work… and I truly hope we can create meaningful change… Thank you to my group leader teamies and of course my care brothers and sisters across Europe and beyond”. (Carrie, Care Leavers Association UK)

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