Preparing the grounds for a successful transition into independence

Young experts on 'Prepare for leaving care'

Young people in alternative care need adequate support when they reach adulthood and get ready to start independent lives. Care professionals play a key role in empowering young people for their futures.

The two-year project ‘Prepare for Leaving Care – A Child Protection System that Works for Professionals and Young People’ aims to help build the capacities of care professionals so they can better integrate a child rights approach into their work.

Youth experts from five different countries – Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Spain – bring their first-hand experience to the project and share their ideas and thoughts.

Statements from youth experts

 

 

"Youth participation in this project is important because we were in the same situation and we know what it feels like and we understand them. And we really want to share ideas to make a better future for other generations.” Patricija, Lithuania (left)

“Care workers need to find the best way to help young people when they are no longer in alternative care.” Anamarija, Croatia (right)

"Love is always the way. People with broken hearts really need love. It is the main thing. Of course there are other things, but love is the main thing." Patricija, Lithuania (left)


 
"I am here because I think that we are the voice of the teenagers of our countries and I want to share my experience to the project and hear the other’s good ideas." Rubén (Spain)

"I think adults sometimes make decisions without knowing what we are living and what we are going through. Young people’s voices are really important because adults realise that we have certain needs, and decisions should be made based on these needs." Raquel (Spain)

"We, the young people, are the ones who can change the situation and the things in the actual world. The young people are the main characters in this film." Rubén (Spain)
 

What leaving care means to young people

At the project kick-off in Vienna from 31 January to 2 February, the young participates shared objects that symbolise their experience of leaving care:
 

 

“This is my treasure.”
 
This photo album was given to Rubén by his SOS family when he left care. It is filled with pictures from his life in the SOS Children’s Village.
Rubén, Spain
 
"Everyone has a world inside.”

Great care needs to be taken to support the beauty that is on the inside, says Adina.
Adina, Italy
 
 

 

“It is about making the right decisions. If you don’t, you go back and repair.”

This crane was folded with great care. It symbolises the many different decisions that need to be taken in the process of leaving care. Young people need support in making the decision that is right for them.
Patricija, Lithuania
 
“When I left care I bought this watch to help me manage my time. I had a lot of things I had to organise on my own.”

The watch also symbolizes Matteo’s future, his hopes and his dreams.
Matteo, Italy
 
 
Family. Where life begins and love never ends.
 
Raquel made this poster and gave it to one of her best friends. They met in her SOS family and even though they have now both left care they have a very close relationship and regard each other as sister and brother.
Raquel, Spain
 
 
All photos by Gabriella Rask

Background

The project ‘Prepare for Leaving Care – A Child Protection System that Works for Professionals and Young people’ is carried out by SOS Children’s Villages in cooperation with CELCIS and Eurochild. The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

More about 'Prepare for Leaving Care'