EPISODE THREE – BRINGING IN CONTEXT AND SPEAKING ABOUT SOLUTIONS
On the third episode of the Each and Every Child podcast we are joined by Chelbi Hillan, student of Dentistry at the University of Glasgow; Roseanna Campbell, Participation Officer Care Experienced Young People at Edinburgh City Council; and Oisín King, MSYP for Who Cares? Scotland and student of Politics and Social and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. In this episode Chelbi, Oisín and Rosie, all members of the Each and Every Child Voices of Experience reference group, give a deeper dive into two of the framing recommendations that are important to consider when speaking from experience of care – bringing in context to stories and speaking clearly about solutions.
Chelbi, Oisín and Rosie reflect on why it is important to explicitly talk about context – the support (or lack of it); the organisations, systems, policy and procedures that impact on us; the experiences of our peers – when speaking about care experience and the care system. In doing this, we can draw attention to making sure there is accountability for the change that needs to happen, rather than focussing in on blame, which can often lead to defensiveness and rejection of the solutions. Accountability is about us as a society, how we make change, and how we are all responsible for that change. Crucially, the group also speak about the importance of highlighting the scale of the issues that are facing people with lived experience, and to make sure there is a focus on the wider system that needs to change. This helps people from across society understand the system more, and crucially, the changes that are needed are what all children need to thrive:
‘Talking about it as a community issue rather than an individual issue, that can remove the burden from care experienced people to have to keep coming forward and saying, this is what I’m going through’ – Chelbi
We know that this also plays a part in tackling the stigma that faces people with lived experience of care, the stigma that comes from assumptions based on the media, culture and society that we live in. When hearing individual stories without context, people often assert blame or responsibility solely onto that person. But as Chelbi states, bringing in the context;
‘Helps remove that blame from an individual, so it’s not about one person’s circumstances … usually if it occurs for one person, it’s something that’s happening for many people’ – Chelbi
The Framing recommendations are tools that can be used when telling stories about care to clearly direct people to the change that someone with lived experience wants to see. By focussing in on context when speaking about experiences of care, it removes the expectation that you must demonstrate your personal trauma to effect change. This should never be the case, and Rosie says how important this is when providing advice to people who are thinking about sharing their story –
Your story is important, and the way you tell it is important. But don’t feel like you have to tell your story either’ – Rosie
When talking about the importance of providing clear, concrete solutions, the group spoke about how, for them, leading with solutions had changed their whole approach to speaking from experience:
‘One thing I always say to myself if I have an issue – what could be done better, how is it going to be done better and what outcome do we want? […] To make a better system for everyone’ – Rosie
‘We need to be clear on solutions that we want to create, but not just the solutions – but how we are going to get there’ – Oisín
It can be easy to think quick about the changes that we think are needed – which can lead to assumptions, misinterpretations and putting the onus on individuals to make change, including those who are speaking about their experience. But by being clear about the solutions, and talking about what should have happened, rather than what hasn’t happened (an often-discussed quote from fellow Voices of Experience member James) then we can help people understand what needs to change and hold systems accountable for the change.
What has really struck the Each and Every Child team on listening back to this conversation is the journey that we have all been on, both individually and collectively. The group mentions throughout the episode the importance of lived and learned experience working together (with emphasis on the learned experience of listening and valuing the voices of lived experience and supporting with the solutions). It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of challenge and become fatalist about the possibility of change, and whether we have any power to make this happen. But when we are clear about solutions, change becomes possible – and our agency in being a part of that change becomes clear.
During the podcast the issue of power was raised – how we can step into our own power and how we must share power. This is a subject we have discussed at great length, times when we have felt powerless to make change. Through our work as a group we know that when come together as a community, sharing our lived and learned experiences, we are a force of nature, and the power to make change happen is phenomenal.
We hope you enjoy listening!
Claire O’Hara, Programme Director, Each and Every Child
Michael Wield, Programme Officer, Each and Every Child
Bringing In Context and Speaking About Solutions
Each and Every Child is an initiative that is focussed on using robustly tested framing techniques to create a new narrative around care, one that shifts public attitudes and increases understanding about care experience and the care system. Based on FrameWorks UK research into how the Scottish public thinks about care experience, and how care experience is discussed by media, individuals and organisations across Scotland, eight framing recommendations were produced to change how we speak about care experience. The recommendations have been tested to tackle stigma and discrimination, whilst building support for improvements to the care system to help Keep The Promise.
Voices of Experience have been central to the work of the initiative from the beginning and throughout. The Voices of Experience Reference group is made up of six individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences of care. The group has influenced the whole of the initiative, including coproducing work for people with lived experience of care.
On the third episode of the Each and Every Child podcast we are joined by Chelbi Hillan, student of Dentistry at the University of Glasgow; Roseanna Campbell, Participation Officer Care Experienced Young People at Edinburgh City Council; and Oisín King, MSYP for Who Cares? Scotland and student of Politics and Social and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. In this episode Chelbi, Oisín and Rosie, all members of the Each and Every Child Voices of Experience reference group, join host Claire O’Hara to give a deeper dive into two of the framing recommendations that are important to consider when speaking from experience of care – bringing in context to stories and speaking clearly about solutions.
The Each and Every Child Toolkit can be found here
The research and methodology behind the initiative, conducted by FrameWorks UK, can be found here