The final preparations have been completed for a ground-breaking conference taking place at Liverpool Hope University on Friday (April 26).
The Care Experienced Conference is the first ever involving people who grew up in care of all ages in the UK.
Funded by charities and crowdfunding donations, the event has been organised by care experienced people themselves.
Such has been the support from the care experienced community, children in care have even sent in their pocket money to help it to happen.
Ian Dickson, who is the driving force behind the conference being, wanted to bring together care experienced people and key influencers and decision-makers.
Ian and his brother were brought up in care and he went on to have a successful career as a social worker and later a senior Ofsted inspector.
“I’m passionate about enabling the voice of care experience people of all ages influence to shape thinking about the current and future systems and bring about improvements for the future,” he said.
Hannah Kirkbride, chief executive of Careers Matters, is also a member of the core group helping to organise the conference.
She is a successful business woman who, motivated by her desire to see young people leaving care get better help than she did, has set up national businesses which have supported tens of thousands of young people into positive futures.
She believes it is vital that we challenge stereotypes about young people who have been in care.
“I believe passionately that care experience people should not be defined by the negative statistics so often quoted,” said Hannah.
“I want to see their amazing achievements and positive contributions properly recognised and celebrated.
“Not only will this conference give voice to the the important views of people who have been in care, but through the exhibition of creative work will also celebrate some of their many achievements.”
Mr Dickson added: “Care experienced people of all ages do not need anyone’s permission to come together, support each other and speak loudly to power.
“For me personally this conference will be a success if government, decision makers and the care industry finally understand what the care experience means and engage with care experienced people of all ages to review, reform, invest and change a broken system.
“Care experienced people are caring, creative, supportive and can achieve their dreams with determination, self-belief and hard work.
“I am looking forward to our care experienced family celebrating and sharing their boundless energy, creativity, wisdom and knowledge on Friday.”
Over 250 delegates are due to attend the conference, which will feature workshops to capture experiences and views.
There will also be an exhibition of creative work and sessions which are informed by and support academic research.