By Elizabeth J Lomas, on 4 October 2019
We have been trying to further spread the word about our recordkeeping recommendations for local authorities, information and data professionals, and social workers, which are that:
- Records should be co-created by all those involved in a child’s care. They should include the voices of children themselves, taking into account their life-long needs for memory, identity and justice.
- Best practice guidance for records creation and management should be establishedfor all organisations with safeguarding responsibilities and guardianship of children’s memories.
- New standards for access to records for all care-experienced persons should be developed. New standards should address the rights of care-experienced people and the responsibilities of institutions.
UCL has issued a press release at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/oct/childrens-voices-omitted-care-records-ucl-study-finds . We are delighted that this press release has already been picked up by The Conversation who have published a piece at: http://theconversation.com/care-leavers-trying-to-access-childhood-records-is-distressing-and-dehumanising-124381. The piece draws out the distressing and dehumanising nature of some recordkeeping practices across the social care system. In addition, it highlights the value of good recordkeeping. We are pleased to report that Community Care produced a piece highlighting the recommendations: https://www.communitycare.co.uk/2019/10/03/childrens-voices-largely-absent-care-records-causing-significant-distress-study-finds/ . Finally Elizabeth Shepherd was interviewed and discusses the project at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07md69m (please note she is featured 2.22.50 in).
All of these pieces are made particularly powerful by those participants who were quoted speaking of experiences accessing their records and the highs and often lows of seeing what had been captured. It is their testimonies that highlight the significance of recordkeeping, whereby childhood memories should be captured and made available as a basic right that underpins lifelong wellbeing.
We hope that others will continue to engage with this important debate.