More Than Just a Kid in Care – Identity and Culture
This NAIDOC week, I have spent some time listening to the new, 4-part podcast series called “More Than Just a Kid in Care”. Written, produced and edited by young people who have grown up in care in NSW, the first episode explores “identity” and the importance of connection to culture.
“I was missing the essence of who I am, because of a barrier that was put upon me by other people” explains one of the young podcasters, a proud Wiradjuri woman. “I asked those questions about can you connect me to my culture, where do I come from? And no one gave me those answers.”
Listening to Identity as we celebrate NAIDOC week, reminded me of the harm that young people can experience when they are not connected to their culture, and how crucial it is to support young people to connect to their culture, their people, and their lands. Their identity development depends on it.
In Identity, Emily, Letisha and Lindsey talk about cultural identity as “being able to understand where you’re from, who your mob is”. They also discuss how their sense of identity was influenced by people’s expectations, perceptions and stereotypes of what it means to be a young person “in-care”.
“Having to prove ourselves to other people in order to break the stereotype…” says one of the young people. “People see you as broken… a bad egg… you won’t get anywhere… a burden to society.”
They also discuss the tension between who they are, who they want to be, and limiting expectations of what they can and can’t achieve.
“Kids in care hide their true potential” explains Emily. “Because you’re stuck between what people are telling you that they want you to be, what statistics say that we’re meant to be, besides who we want to be… the instability… we can’t form our true identity, because we can’t form the connection to people, place and things.”
Where to listen
If you’re passionate about young people’s rights and really hearing their experiences in the NSW OOHC system, I recommend you listen to More Than Just a Kid in Care on your streaming app such as Spotify or online. The podcast series aims to “break the stigma of being in care and make a better system for kids in the future”. The series describes itself as “unflinching, funny, sad, honest and real”, an accurate description of the stories shared by the young people.
About the Podcast Creators
Youth Consult for Change is a collective of young people 14-17 who are or have been in care. The Youth Ambassadors advise DCJ on policy and practice changes and share their stories and ideas with DCJ practitioners. YCC Ambassadors have collaborated to create More Than Just a Kid in Care.
Written By Taylor Howard, Therapeutic Specialist & Senior Advisor
Australian Childhood Foundation