With each passing year, the CLA has become more active. Below is a summary of some of our historic activities.
- Victoria Hull (National Development Worker) and Vicky Halliwell (Administrator) were working in the Manchester office.
- We had the second-stage launch (the first stage, a new CLA website format, went live in 2008) of an integrated website that brings together the CLA website and the ‘Careleaversreunited’ (CLR) website into one place.
- CLA membership rose to over 100.
- Membership of the CLR section of the website grows: from 2,400 in 1,025 homes in October 2007 to 5,000 members and 1,5000 registered homes by November 2009. The redesigned CLR section contains a new social networking facility that enables care leavers to contact each other easily and safely.
- Extensive fundraising activities continue via our fundraising sub-committee.
- We moved office, leaving Mount Street, Manchester, to take up a larger office in the Express Networks Building, also in central Manchester. This enables us to have volunteers also working in the office.
- We continued to provide support to the Jersey Care Leavers Association (JCLA). This included regular visits to help their committee in trying to deal with the abuse in care scandal on the island. It also included organising or attending meetings in London and Jersey, with the JCLA, to lobby or seek advice from professionals and government policy-makers and civil servants.
- We provided advice and support to care leavers who were taking action after being subject to drug regimes whilst they were children in care, drugs which have caused lifelong harm.
- We began an annual count of those children in the current care system who go missing from care and are unaccounted for. Our publicity of the high numbers who go missing generated a lot of media interest and led to other groups also highlighting the issue.
- We continued to promote our CLEARmark (launched during National Care Leavers’ Week in late 2008). The CLEARmark is a quality mark for access to records work and was designed by care leavers. It is awarded to local authorities and voluntary agencies that are providing a good standard of service for adult care leavers who seek access to their care files.
- We delivered many presentation and training sessions, including presentations to the Scottish Institute for Residential Childcare (SIRCC) and to the Post-Care Forum. We also provided training on access to records and abuse within the care system to Scottish workers dealing with these issues. Most of these events provided funding for the CLA and raised thousands of pounds towards enabling us to support our other activities.
- We hosted a joint conference with the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the Alliance for Child-Centred Care on the experiences of adults who were in care as children.
- We held Open Meetings, for members and for other care leavers, in London and Manchester and local meetings in Leeds and Grantham.
- We met with the UK government’s Social Exclusion Task Force to discuss the issues facing young people leaving care.
- We attended the Fazakerley Cottage Homes Reunion in Liverpool in June.
- We attended a care leavers’ meeting in Glasgow in June.
- We continued our everyday activities of advising care leavers and others on specific issues.
- From October to January 2009/10, we were involved in a joint research project with the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care, looking at human rights issues in relation to dealing with past abuse cases in the Scottish child care system. The research was funded, and the research report published, by the Scottish Human Rights Commission.
- We held a sponsored cycle ride to raise funds for the CLA. Will, Victoria and Zachari rode from London to Norwich. You can see our photo gallery of the event here
- Membership more than doubled, to 248.
- There was an increase in donations from members and supporters.
- We were awarded funds from two trust funds to employ two new workers, a Networking Project Worker (Darren Coyne) and a Young Person’s Project Worker and Deputy Director (Clare Edge). They started in post in October 2010.
- We published Listen Up! Adult Care Leavers Speak Out. This report, researched and written by Zachari Duncalf, was the first-ever national survey of the experiences of adult care leavers. It was based on the views of 310 care leavers aged from 17 to 78.
- Held a ‘Speaking Out’ event, attended by more than 60 black, Asian and minority ethnic young people from the care system, designed to allow young people to raise and discuss issues related to their experiences in the care system.
- We helped to produce a publication, The Speaking Out Report, based on the ‘Speaking Out’ event.
- We co-hosted, along with the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care, a conference that addressed the issues of ‘historic abuse’ in the care system and access to care files. All the presentations were made by care leavers.
- Will McMahon, as CLA Chair, attended and spoke at the tenth anniversary conference, in Sydney, of the Care Leavers Australia Network (www.clan.org.au/), another organisation that is run, like us, by and for care leavers.
- We moved office again, this time within the same building. This allowed us enough room for the two new workers (making a total staff team of four).
- Victoria Hull, who by this time had become our National Director, left the organisation in June and moved to an exciting new post with The Who Cares? Trust in London, which focuses on children in care and leaving care.
- Victoria’s replacement as National Director, David Graham, was appointed in October 2010.
- We held Open Meetings in London and Manchester and local meetings for members and other care leavers in Glasgow, Grantham (twice), Bradford, Birkenhead and Portsmouth.
- We gave various presentations on subjects such as access to records (Warwick) and policy for looked after children (London and Leeds). These presentations and our training activities brought in extra income into the organisation and helped to fund other activities.
- Were able to offer opportunities to increasing numbers of volunteers and, in view of our expansion, promoted Vicky Halliwell from Administrator to Office Manager.
- We continued to help and advise care leavers on Jersey, though to a much less degree than in the previous two years.
- As usual, we dealt with a wide variety of enquiries from fellow care leavers and from others who sought advice, information and support.