Giving Young People a Passport to Parliament


Last week I met over 35 children and young people from within the care system in the Midlands. Alongside other regional MPs Steve McCabe and Craig Whittaker, local councillors, The Children’s Commissioner for England and social work professionals, we discussed whether young people in care are receiving everything they are legally entitled to.

Passport to Parliament is run by national charity The Who Cares? Trust, which supports and campaigns for children in care and care leavers. The scheme aims to engage young people from all over the country in national political issues, and empower them to campaign for improvements within the care system.

Achieving greater participation and accountability in politics is an issue I feel very strongly about. So I was particularly pleased to see that one girl who had been in care all her life said: “I’ve never been to an event like this before – it’s really great for young people to be able to meet MPs and feel like we are genuinely being listened to, that our voices are being heard.”

Children and young people with experience of care, as well as professionals and care leavers, can give their views to the Entitlements Inquiry being run by All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Looked-After Children and Care Leavers here.

I was also pleased to be joined by three students from the University of Birmingham as part of the ParliaMentors scheme, which gives young people an insight into the work of an MP. Listening to children and young people talking about their experiences first-hand and telling us their views is absolutely vital for politicians. It certainly keeps us on our toes!

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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