Last month By the Bridge with Cambian were asked to be expert speakers at the ‘Eurochild 2016 Conference – Children’s Rights Matter, why Europe Needs to Invest in Children’. This conference was held in Brussels at the Palais des Academies and was opened by Her Majesty the Queen of Belgium.
The conference aimed to take stock of progress, address on-going challenges, share good practice and bring together a range of perspectives with regard to children’s rights. Its purpose was to learn and reflect on how policies and services promote the rights of all children in five sub-themes: education, early years, health promotion, family strengthening, social protection and welfare support. These themes were viewed through the lens of three target groups of children: children in poverty, children on the move or affected by migration, and children in care or in risk of going into care.
Abbee McLatchie, Education, Participation & Achievement Manager and Vika Tchibor, Expert by Experience care leaver, attended the conference on behalf of By the Bridge with Cambian. Their responsibility was to present thinking around challenges faced by looked after young people in education, and to create dialogue on how this can be addressed through therapeutic thinking and practices. Vika was incredible, articulate and impressive in her presentation and ideas – and was very well received by the audience of over 250 people.
The conference was attended by policy makers and practitioners from across the whole of Europe, and was designed in a way that made children and young people integral to every aspect of the programme – including the drawing up of the declaration of intent for the end of the conference. It included interactive workshops and visits to organisations to share good practice and promote networks of change makers that could take forward the ideology that underpinned the event.
The conference was exceptionally well attended with organisations represented from every aspect of children’s rights.
Abbee McLatchie said: ‘It was an incredible opportunity for both Vika and I to be asked to present at this conference, and raise awareness of the challenges and difficulties faced by our children who are looked after. What was particularly exciting was how receptive people were to the ideas of therapeutic and family based approaches to caring for children, as lots of people outside of the UK were quite new to the concepts of non-institutional care and keen to explore ideas around improving outcomes for children. We are looking forward to building on the new relationships that were forged and creating some new and exciting ideas and partnerships’.