Junior Minister Jennifer McCann today took part in a question time event organised by the Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC).
The event in the Youth Action Theatre, Belfast is held to mark National Care Leavers’ Week. It provides children and young people aged 16-25 who have been in care or are currently in care with an opportunity to question a number of MLA’s directly on issues that affect them. At 31 March 2012 there were 2,644 children in care in the north of Ireland.
Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said: “As a Minister with responsibilities for children and young people this debate provides a useful opportunity to connect with young people. It is crucial to listen to the views of the young people on the issues that impact on them most.”
The young people raised a range of important issues including employment opportunities, education, suicide, health, citizenship, poverty and democracy. Junior Minister McCann added: “Children in care often have to deal with moving away from family, living with new people and dealing with their experiences prior to being in care. This can be a very challenging time and has the potential to leave young people feeling isolated and vulnerable.”
Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) is an independent charity that aims to improve the life chances of children and young people in care. Junior Minister McCann Jennifer concluded: “VOYPIC aims to improve the life chances of children and young people in care by listening and learning from individual experiences to facilitate change in legislation, policy and practice. I hope that this debate today has provided another platform for young people to make their voices heard and I congratulate them for their positive contribution.”