Neath Port Talbot are the first local authority to sign a pledge ensure that care-experienced children and young people in their care have their precious belongings treated with dignity, care and respect whenever they move home.
The ‘My Things Matter’ campaign, created by leading children’s rights charity NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service), is calling for all local authorities across England and Wales to sign up to a pledge outlining five promises, when moving children and young people in care, so they don’t have their belongings moved in bin bags. Local authorities who do so will be eligible to receive free pack-away travel bags from leading UK bag brand Madlug to provide to children in their care when they move.
NYAS reveals in their campaign report that:
- 4 in 5 children and young people in care will have their belongings moved in bin bags.
- 3 in 5 children and young people in care will have their belongings lost or damaged when moving.
- The report research also found, from an FOI request, that only 1 in 3 Local Authorities have formal written guidance to support staff when moving children and young people in care.
One care leaver, 18-year-old Daniel, described the practice of his belongings being moved in bin bags as “inhumane” and “humiliating”.
Every 20 minutes, a child in care moves home in England or Wales, equating to over 26,000 children in England and 2,200 children in Wales. NYAS receives 10,000 referrals a year to advocate for care-experienced children and young people, and the charity has found that moving when in care can cause serious problems for many who make contact with them.
The campaign report asks local authorities to commit to support the five pledges below:
- We will help you to keep your most precious belongings with you safely during your move and promise they will not be moved in bin bags.
- We will provide written guidance for you and anyone helping you to move, which we will publish on our website.
- We will never move or throw away your belongings without your consent and will always respect your personal property.
- We will support you to make a complaint if any of your belongings have been lost or damaged during your move.
- We will communicate with you about your move and ask you how the move went.
Councillor Alan Lockyer, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services, said: “As a service, we have always given our young people the utmost respect to both themselves and their belongings. This pledge reminds us of that respect that must always be afforded to those who are in our care.”
Rita Waters, NYAS Group CEO says, “All too often for children in care, they have a negative experience when moving from one home to another; it’s not good enough and needs to change. That is why the NYAS ‘My Things Matter’ campaign is asking local authorities to help make the moving experience as good as it can be for children and young people.”
Dave Linton, founder and CEO of Madlug, who donate a bag to care-experienced children for every sale of their products, said, “I am excited to be partnering with NYAS in the ‘My Things Matter’ campaign because we can increase awareness of the bin bag issue, challenge local authorities to treat their incredible children with value, worth and dignity, along with providing a practical solution to enable the execution of their commitment.”