Voices of young care leavers: let them speak for themselves
Why has Cachet been involved in this project and what is Cachet?
7 years ago, 4 women in their late 20's who had lived in a residential setting as a child, created the NGO 'Cachet'. Fed up with negative prejudices about children and young people in youth care, they started to spread positive stories about young people in youth care and adults who already left care. Today, the aim of Cachet is to give young people in care hope and confidence in their own future by inspiring them with true stories of people who took a similar road before them.
Cachet facilitates the encounter of young people and adults with experiences in youth care. By doing this, Cachet builds a network of people who have one thing in common: their own experience in youth care. Cachet works ‘for’ and ‘with’ them. Our volunteers are at the heart of our organization. We don’t speak in their name, but we let them speak for themselves. In this way we achieve to spread the diversity of voices of young people.
Cachet gathers their stories and opinions about youth care and translates this experience based knowledge into creative tools to inspire youth care workers and policy makers. We do this by giving formations (for youth care workers) together with our volunteers on the one hand and by defending their interests and spreading their voices in policy meetings on the other hand. We dream of improving youth care in Flanders.
How do you plan to engage in this project with the pilot regions (Antwerp & Carinthia). What are the actions you plan to undertake?
In 2015 Cachet wrote the book 'Sur Ma Route' (On my way), which focused on the experiences and obstacles young people have when leaving youth care at the age of 18. This book includes recommendations for the government and social services to help them in this struggle and is now used as a source of inspiration by many youth care workers, social workers and policy makers. So we will definitely use this expertise in the project.
The main actions Cachet will do for this project, is doing what we’re good at: bringing young people with youth care experiences together and let them exchange their experiences with leaving care and living independently. By facilitating the process, we enable young people to go into dialogue with academics and youth care workers who want to implement new methods and theories about leaving care, starting from their own experiences and common reflections.In this way the young people contribute in improving after care practices by making those practices more customized to the real needs of young people. Because isn’t that what it’s all about?