Bin Bag ‘Humiliation’ Of Children In Care

The practice of making children in care in Wales use bin bags to move their possessions has been condemned as humiliating and degrading. A campaign has been launched to end the practice, which some of the children say can make them feel worthless.

{mosimage}Charities are urging local councils to make money available to buy them suitcases instead. Fashion shows with models wearing clothes made from bin bags are being staged to highlight their complaints.

The campaign, called This Is Not A Suitcase, calls for Welsh local authorities to sign a charter outlawing the use of bin bags. Around 4,500 children are in care in Wales, with most of them living with foster carers.

Joyce, 21, who went into foster care with her son when she was 15, said she was “shocked” to be handed a pack of black bin liners. She said: “It made me feel like a piece of rubbish – like I wasn’t worth anything.

“Some friends came to support me when I was moving out and one of the bags split and my things fell out onto the street. I felt so embarrassed,” she added.

The fashion show at The Point in Cardiff Bay on Thursday will launch the campaign by the Fostering Network, Voices From Care Cymru and the Bryn Melyn Group Foundation. There was a similar event at Capel Curig, Gwynedd, on Wednesday. At the Cardiff event, Plaid Cymru Welsh assembly member Helen Mary Jones will model the collection alongside young people in care, care leavers and staff from the charities.

Debbie Jones, chief executive of Voices From Care Cymru, said: “The practice of allowing children and young people to move home or leave care with their belongings in a bin bag is offensive and wholly unacceptable in the 21st century.”

Jane Butler, director of the Fostering Network Wales, said: “It is appalling that children in care have to move their possessions in bin bags. It strips them of their dignity and gives these children the impression that they and their belongings are rubbish.”