Care-experienced and Care-Leaders

Billie-Jo McDowell – Youth IFCO Board Member

As a care-experienced adult, I have been privileged over the past 7 years to share my story and contribute to change on local, national, and international levels.   However, for me to get to this point, it took the support of a number of people including my partner, social workers, friends, and other people I worked with. 

While my achievements are mine, it was other people who gave me the platform.

  Now, as a social worker, my goal is to help empower other care-experienced children and young people to use their voice to promote change and develop themselves.  The UNCRC states that under Article 12 that we must ‘respect the views of the child.’  By giving these children a voice, we are helping to provide them with holistic and person-centred care. This will help to promote their development, relationships, and future outcomes.  However, we are often seeing failures in agencies doing this. Many care-experienced adults continue to advocate for treatment that they did not receive.  It is important that there are safe platforms to facilitate these conversations and provide a space for safe sharing, effective planning, and productive action.

  When I was given the right space to do this, I was able to use my voice in a productive way to help others and have enjoyed educating others. It is because of this passion that I chose to join IFCO.  By joining IFCO, I have been given a platform to not only continue to use my voice to promote change, but to help others share their stories, and contribute to change.  I came to the IFCO Board with a range of different ideas, primarily re-establishing our Youth Committee and Program.

This will allow care-experienced young people from across the world a platform to share ideas, to develop personally and professionally. Most importantly, we will build relationships via shared experiences.  

We have a vision for an IFCO Youth that gives everyone the opportunity to share their story and contribute to change in their own country and internationally through empowerment and partnership working.  I hope that through the continued engagement with our youth, we can develop a platform for you to share your voice as I have and that we can help promote your growth into global changers!

Quote from Barack Obama. It says "your voice can change the world".