How this young mum hopes to use her own experience to help children in care in South Tyneside

A young mum who spent several years living in care has told how she wants to help other children in the same position.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 6:22 pm
Jasmine Hagan with Coun Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families.

Jasmine Hagan, 21, has been in care since the age of 15 and is now working towards a career helping others in the system.

The mum-of-one, who wants to work in youth justice or in a children’s home, is part of a new initiative underway at South Tyneside Council, which is aimed at improving the life chances of young people leaving the care system.

She is one of a group of care leavers who are currently employed in services across the Council, as part of the WorkPlace project.

“I want to use my experience of the care system to make things better for children in care,” said Jasmine of Biddick Hall.

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“Young people in care need someone who has been through the system and know what it’s like.”

Funded by the Department of Education the project seeks to raise the aspirations of young care leavers and help them become ‘job-ready.’

It is hoped that providing the opportunity for people like Jasmine to gain hands-on experience in paid roles will enhance their employability prospects.

“The experience I have gained through the WorkPlace project has really boosted my confidence,” she continued.

“Going through the care system you sometimes feel you do not have a say and you can start to doubt that people care.

“Getting a sessional role makes you feel like you are important and that what you think will be listened to. It also gives you experience of being employed and trained which makes you feel that you can achieve what you want in life.”

In 2016/17, just 53% of care leavers aged 17-18 were in education, employment or training, rising to 72% in 2017/18.

Jasmine added: “There is sometimes a stigma around care leavers and this project is helping to break this. In care you miss having someone there to push you to help you realise your potential. This project is helping to bridge that gap.”