New resource encourages State care rangatahi to speak up

By Mahina Hurkmans

To celebrate Care Day, youth advocacy Voyce - Whakarongo Mai released a new comic book to inspire children to speak up.

Amanda Faauga, from the National Youth Council says, “FGC's (Family Group Conferences) are an issue that most children in care have to go through.”

By releasing the comic on Care Day, the worlds’ biggest celebration of children and rangatahi VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai hopes that tamariki atawhai (children in care) will not only speak up but be heard.

Briarley Birch, Regional Manager for VOYCE Tāmaki Makaurau says, "So it’s a day to pause and notice that there’s this segment of the community that have been brought up different.

“In that pause, we notice them, we reflect, we celebrate, and we challenge the system.”

Birch continues, “We wanted to release a tool,that young people can read, hopefully understand a little more about us, and how they can come to us.  Hopefully we can work with them.”

Faauga believes that due to that large numbers of Māori in state care, a te reo version of this comic is essential.  

“We've got over six thousand kids in care at the moment and 68% of them are Māori.

“New Zealand is a growing te reo Māori speaking country. So it’s really important that we integrate with that growth.”

Faauga also reflects on her time in State care, wishing that such a resource was available to her.

“I feel like all people in care should know that this service is available. 

“That they can get help, because it is something that I definitely would of wanted when I was in care.

“Knowing that I could be empowered, to have my voice heard, and know how to be respected.”

Voyce hopes that these comics will reach all whānau across Aotearoa.