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Thu Oct 28| Blog Policy & Research

A Chance of Snow and Research

I am Tuisku Curtis-Kolu, best known as Snow, and recently I joined includem as the new Policy Officer, to contribute to supporting young people & their families to achieve their goals and to #KeepThePromise.

 

I hope to use my experience from working in public sector research and human rights challenges in the third sector to help deliver meaningful change that values the experiences and views of children, young people and families and the staff that support them. This experience builds on the back of an undergraduate and Masters degree in Law.

I have a passion for social, environmental & economic justice, and I hope to be a small part of the wider shift in Scotland to a wellbeing economy that puts children, young people & their futures at the heart of policy development. As a creative problem solver – and a coffee fiend – I believe that bringing together the right people, ideas and hot beverages with intention can result in real on-the-ground change.

I’ve joined includem at an interesting time, with my first task focused on currently developing research centred on the voices and experiences of children, young people and families including those with care experience. This approach is taken throughout, with interviews being co-designed & conducted by peer researchers (including those with care experience).

In celebration of Care Experienced Week, I wanted to highlight a few of the key themes that are already emerging from our findings:

  • Poverty & stigma: With poverty already set to get worse after ten years of austerity, the associated shame and stigma can cause considerable under reporting by families impacted. Working families face daily struggles living in poverty, and connections to services are vital for a route to financial stability. Families must be heard, and it is important to recognise that poverty is not their shame.
  • The complexity of challenges & services: The challenges, young people and families (including those with care experience) face are complex – including areas such as mental health, substance misuse and neurodivergence. Many reported wider negative experiences of being judged and not being heard or supported, with some only receiving the ‘right’ service at crisis point.
  • The value of relationships, trust & humour: At a striking consistency, families highlighted the value of developing trusting relationships in engaging with services, finding includem workers as key to achieving this. Building relationships based on mutual respect – underpinned by listening, being committed, authenticity and a sense of humour – is of key importance, particularly considering experiences of judgement & stigma.
  • Family wellbeing & whole family support: Many families appreciated that includem works with the whole family, and highlight multiple features that played a key role, averting crises and supporting family wellbeing. These were seen as hugely beneficial to families and having a valued impact to the health and wellbeing of care experienced young people & children.

In the coming weeks, we will share our full findings from our Peer Research which supports the findings of the Independent Care Review in what families want and need from services to #KeepThePromise and achieve #ABetterLife. I would like to thank everyone who shared their experiences and supported the development of this work – it is wonderful to see from day one of a new job that the voices of care experienced people are driving forward our understanding of what works, and what doesn’t, and I look forward to working with you all in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to find out more about Snow’s work, make sure to follow her on Twitter @SnowIncludem or drop Snow an email at snow.curtis_kolu@includem.co.uk



Snow Curtis-Kolu,
Policy Officer

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