AUK’s Alison Woodhead says: This blog by 14 year old Caitlain is testament to the power of working with young people. I was at the meeting Caitlain describes, and I’ve rarely seen a Government Minister so engaged.

Adopted young people know what trauma feels like, and they know what helps. Adoption UK is developing a programme that will give people like Caitlain lots of opportunities to get stuck into the things that matter to them – from improving the way traumatised children are treated in school, to getting more help with mental health, to making new friends and supporting each other. We can’t wait to see what they will do. As Caitlain says, when young people speak up, change happens.


Last year I was asked by Adoption UK if I wanted to meet the children’s minister, Vicky Ford. I jumped at the chance to be able to visit the houses of parliament and meet an MP and talk about my experiences.

Sadly, the pandemic put an end to the day trip to London but as we have to do with school, Zoom was the way we eventually met.

I wanted to help those who will sadly go through the same situation as me unless something is done to help adopted children in schools. I had been bullied and did not get the support I needed from the teaching staff. Both my siblings have had some sort of issue in school, all directly related to our adoption. In almost all cases I think it is because the staff are not trained properly in trauma and attachment and some have the belief that once a child is adopted everything should be fine as they have a lovely family now. They seem to think we can forget about the past, just like that.

Four of us were invited to speak. I felt a bit nervous especially as I was the youngest (I’m 14) but I was also excited to get this opportunity. Vicky Ford told us that she had an adopted family member which felt good as I thought she had some understanding of our situation.

Ms Ford asked us to name one thing that would really make a difference and I said it would be really helpful to have a dedicated support worker to help us until we are an adult.

It was a fun experience, but a bit scary because I don’t always have a lot of confidence talking in front of people I don’t know. But I felt really happy that I was able to put across my points, and it felt like she was listening and really wants to make a change.

I would love to be involved in more of these meetings and would encourage every young person to speak up as that is the only way things will change. I strongly believe that adopted children should get much more support in school if they need it. I look forward to seeing what the government will do in the future to facilitate this.


Author: Caitlain