LOVE WITHOUT LIMITS | A Conversation with Vic Langer, CEO at Become
As part of our Love Without Limits Campaign that we are running in the lead up to Care Day 2021, we wanted to talk to different organisations who champion and support the incredible children in care.
Become is a charity based in England that supports children in care and care leavers. This week we were lucky enough to get a (virtual) interview with Vic Langer, the Interim CEO at Become. You can check out our social media for the video version or read on to find out what Vic had to say about her experience working with Become!
1. Who are you and what is your role in Become?
I’m Vic, and I’m the Interim CEO here at Become. Become exists to make life better for children in care and support young care leavers, both now and in the future. We provide a range of support directly to children and young people through our advice line, 1-2-1 sessions and through opportunities to engage directly with our work. By working side by side with children and young people and giving them the space to speak out and be heard, we want to make the care system work for them, because for them, that system is their life. And every single one of their lives is important.
2. Can you tell us a bit more about who Become are and what your own job entails?
As CEO my job is to make sure that our amazing team at Become have the support, resources, time, motivation, clarity and skills to do their jobs, so that together with care experienced children and young people we can make a real difference. I’ve been so lucky throughout my career, my job has always been in one way or another working with children and young people to change the world.
3. Why did you choose to work for an organisation that champions and supports children in care?
I wanted to come and work at Become because I believe so strongly that every single child deserves to be given the best start in life. I believe that every young person has a right to be heard and listened to. Supporting children and young people to speak up and speak out is what I’m about, and it’s what Become’s about – so it’s brilliant that this is where I get to work and so amazing that this is my job.
4. Name one thing you would want to change in the care system?
I’m still very new to working in the children’s care sector but in just a few week’s I’ve come to realise that for too many children and young people things aren’t working. There needs to be more humanity, more love, and more care. Decisions about children’s lives need to involve discussions with them. What they want, or need must be at the heart of what happens to them. They can’t just find themselves moved from pillar to post with no control over what is going on. Many of the young people we support, like Samara, tell us they were never fully informed about why they were taken into care in the first place, or consulted with when they were moved and often uprooted without warning. And leaving care can feel just as sudden and abrupt. We’re seeing more and more 16–18-year-olds being ‘aged out’ of care, who are expected to know how to live independently as an adult overnight without the preparation or empowerment they deserve. Samara, for example, turned up to university with no money to buy food and didn’t realise she needed to provide her own bedding – there was no one there to help make her transition out of care. It wasn’t easy for her – and it should be. If we just think for a minute about the kids in our own lives – we want them to feel loved, have some stability, know that they are important, be supported to make mistakes and grow from those mistakes. But in the few short weeks I’ve been a Become it feels that the rules are different, less fair, not as loving and not as supportive for children who grow up in care, and I don’t think it’s right. Which is why I think it needs to change. Here at Become we’re optimistic that that change is on its way. And that by speaking out children and young people will shape their lives for the better.
5. What is your message of hope for children in care and care experienced young people?
Our message of hope is this “We believe in you. We know you have the potential to become whatever you want to be. We will stand with you and amplify your voice so that you, and other care-experienced young people, can live happy, fulfilled lives.”
We hope you enjoyed reading our short interview with Become CEO, Vic! If you would like to be a part of the Love Without Limits campaign and show your support for children in care we would love it if you shared a selfie on social media holding up the message #lovewithoutlimits - just like Vic! Don't forget to tag us so we can see it and reshare it.
You can also click here to shop our limited edition Love Without Limits tote to show your support long after Care Day this Friday and carry the message of love, value, worth and dignity for children in care.