Published 06.10.2021
by Kids’ Own

New book project with children and young people living in care

Kids’ Own recently worked in partnership with Sligo/Leitrim Home Youth Liaison Service on a special book project with children and young people who are living in care. The participants worked alongside Associate artist Sharon Kelly and Associate Writer Mary Branley over a number of creative sessions.

Together, the participants developed new artwork, created new structures such as boats and rafts, had a go at mask-making, chatted, explored, and had fun! Young people talked about their experiences living in foster care with the project writer Mary, and with each other. They felt very strongly that other young people should know what living in care means, and what it does not mean.

The project took place outdoors, and so there was lots of exploration and activity that connected the group to nature. The creative sessions took inspiration from the nearby river and the woods. The group made structures to float on the river, and took a (rainy!) walk in the woods.

Throughout the project, the young people involved spoke about their past experiences, their hopes for the future, and the great supports available to them. Many of the young people wanted to emphasise the good experiences they have had and how they are supported: ‘I’m having a great life, because I’m with people that care for me’.

Some young people also spoke about the difficulties and challenges that affect them: ‘It can be challenging to explain to people why you don’t call your foster parents mum and dad. It can affect you mentally’. They also recognised that mental health is an important issue for many young people from different circumstances, as one participant noted: ‘Anxiety and depression are common to society in general, and lockdown has made it worse.’

The book made by these young people is currently in development and will be published in the coming months. The book will be hugely important in helping society to hear the voices of these children and young people. Sincere thanks to all of the project participants and the wonderful team at Sligo/Leitrim Home Youth Liaison for their generosity and dedication. We’re looking forward to sharing more updates soon!