Why do people with care experience get such a bad rap?

Why do people with care experience get such a bad rap?

Why do people with care experience get such a bad rap?

There are a few potential reasons why young people who have experienced care sometimes get portrayed negatively or face stigma:

1. Lack of understanding about their backgrounds and experiences. Many young people enter the care system due to no fault of their own, such as parental abuse, neglect, addiction, or other family challenges. However, there can be a misperception that they have behavioural issues or are "troubled."

2. Statistics around outcomes. While not true for all, studies show youth ageing out of care are at higher risk for things like homelessness, unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and criminal justice system involvement compared to peers raised in stable homes. This can reinforce negative stereotypes.

3. Feeling "different" or like an "outsider." Being in care, moving homes frequently, and not having a stable family structure can make youth feel different from their peers in traditional family environments. This sense of otherness may contribute to stigma.

4. Media portrayals. Movies and TV shows sometimes depict care-experienced kids with hackneyed "troubled teen" tropes that buy into and reinforce stereotypes rather than showing the systemic issues many face.

5. There is a general stigma towards dependency on social services. In some circles, there are lingering negative attitudes towards those receiving government assistance or services like the care system.

The reality is that youth who have experienced care deserve the same compassion, support and opportunities as any other child. Increasing understanding and improving the care system itself are important for overcoming undue stigma.

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