Informed by robust research and the established practice of ‘reframing’, the initiative will create the scale that is needed to influence public opinion and make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people. The Each and Every Child Initiative is a partnership project between CELCIS, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Life Changes Trust, The Robertson Trust, Scottish Government and Social Work Scotland, and will be hosted by The Robertson Trust.
Since 2017, the collaboration has worked with the FrameWorks Institute, internationally recognised experts in utilising communications to support social change. This collaboration has, to date, encompassed two distinct phases of research, with the Each and Every Child Initiative now the essential next step to ensure the evidence which emerged from this work is now put into practice.
Phase 1 helped to build an understanding of what the ‘experts’ (people with lived experience and professional experience) believe are the important themes around care experience. The results of this research were then compared with findings from research with the general public. This research, Seeing and Shifting the Roots of Opinion, and Slipping Through the Cracks, enabled us to better understand where there are communication challenges for those wishing to campaign and advocate for progressive approaches to supporting children and young people with care experience. Three key communications challenges were highlighted:
- Children and young people with experience of the care system are seen as “forever damaged” as a result of factors such as trauma and neglect
- The care system itself is viewed as dysfunctional and unable to provide the loving, nurturing care that children and young people need to thrive
- The public considers that children and young people generally end up in care due to poor parenting and bad choices
Phase 2 focused on testing reframing strategies to counteract these communication challenges, resulting in a series of evidence-based recommendations (not yet publicly available) to support people with care experience and their supporters to tell a different story about the care system and the children and young people in it. From this work an easily accessible Toolkit will be produced to help people put the findings into practice. The Each and Every Child Initiative is Phase 3 of this work and will focus on implementation, taking this body of research, and the practical tools derived from it, and putting it into practice through those working and advocating in the field of care experience.
Following the publication of The Promise (the findings of the Independent Care Review), and the growth of a movement around care experience, there is a particularly enabling context in which to situate this work. Across the UK and beyond, Scotland is currently being viewed as taking a leading role in ground-breaking work to reimagine care for children and young people and creating a fresh, inspiring narrative around care experience.