Central Bedfordshire Children in Care Council

Children in Care Council

The Children in Care Council & CiCC Ambassadors

The Children in Care Council (CICC) is a group of children and young people who are, or have been in the care of Central Bedfordshire Council.

We are a passionate and dedicated group who play a vital role in Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC).  We all have many things in common, one of which is their experience of being in our care, and secondly our determination and commitment to influence change, to make things better, for ourselves  and other children and young people that come into the care of CBC. We really enjoy being part of the CiCC as it provides a platform to speak out about a variety of things to make positive changes. We also have the opportunity to have fun together, work together and be listened to by staff, elected members (or councillors) and the Children Services senior management team. And we know the work we are doing is making a real difference to lives of children and young people now and in the future. 

A CiCC Ambassador is a care experienced young people over the age of 16. CiCC Ambassadors are there to represent the voice of our CiCC members when they are not able to attend meetings as well as give their own views on the services they receive. 

One CiCC member said, ‘I enjoy being part of the CiCC as I enjoy meeting new people and I get the opportunity to try and be involved in different tasks, like interviews and presentations. We always ensure that are our views and other young peoples views are heard. I have become more confident and built up good team working skills; I am passionate about making the lives of other young people in care better and want to make sure they are being listened to. We have the support of workers and other young people and so nothing that we do is too difficult once we set our mind to it!’ 

The CiCC regularly attend Corporate Parenting Panel and a CiCC member co-chairs and raises issues that are important to the CiCC. The co-chair also champions the voice of children in care and care leavers. For example,  in 2018, the CiCC said they want more support in exploring careers, hobbies and aspirations. In response elected members requested that the CiCC provided a list of activities and interests that the children and young people wished to pursue. 

The members also supported us in writing the Children and Young People’s Pledge. The Pledge is a set of promises that Central Bedfordshire makes to all children in care and care leavers.  We said, We want a ‘promise’ that really makes a difference to the lives of children and young people. Something that could be used as a tool to help children have their say and ensure they received the best possible service and support’. The Pledge was designed by the CiCC, afterwards for all Central Bedfordshire staff to use and fully support. The launch of the children and young people’s pledge took place at the CiCC Summer Awards Ceremony. 

The CiCC organises the Awards ceremony which celebrates the achievements for all children and young people in care and care leavers. This year's event is being held on Friday 20th September 2019 between 6pm – 9pm, and is being held at Central Beds Council, Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ. There is always a theme and this year it's 'Films'. 

We also attend CiCC meetings and organise fun activities during school holidays.The members of the CiCC are also involved in interviewing social workers, presenting information to senior managers, and consultations on different aspects of being in care.

The work of the CiCC is supported by Kam Mathu, Participation Officer. If you would like any further information about the CiCC or any of the activities organised by the CiCC or if you would like to be part of the CiCC then send an email to kam.mathu@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or send a text to 07794 333272.  

 

The Pledge

The Pledge has been developed in partnership with the Corporate Paretning Panel and the Children in Care Council, approved by the Councils Executive. The Pledge

CiCC Ambassadors led workshops which included CiCC members, Senior Managers, Councillors and social workers. The workshops focused on what the young people felt was important in their lives and what the council should Pledge to them.

 

 

Corporate Parenting Panel

This is where elected members and directors from Central Bedfordshire Council meet to monitor and ensure the well being of Children in Care and Care Leavers. The Children in Care Council also attends the Corporate Parenting Panel meetings to keep the members up to date on the work of the CiCC and also to feed back any information about the services for looked after children. If you have any feedback you want to send to the Corporate Parenting Panel please email kam.mathu@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

The Pledge which is one of the ways which Central Bedfordshire Council was approved by the Councils Executive Panel and will seek to improve the lives of looked after children, The Pledge is Central Bedfordshire Council’s promise to help you to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being.  A copy of The Pledge is included in the pack.

Central Bedfordshire Council's Children's Services

The CiCC recently approached Sacha Rymell - Assistant Director for Children Services

Questions for Sue and Sacha from Members of the CiCC and CiCC Ambassadors  

 If you got to meet a historical person who would it be?

Emily Pankhurst.

If you could be one animal for the day what would it be and why?

Tiger as speedy, fast and a gorgeous colour and lives in a hot country!

Who is your favourite Disney character?

Not a great Disney fan but like Aladdin

If you had to pick one meal to eat everyday what would it be and why?

Ham Egg Chips Baked Beans and a slice of bread and butter, yust a mixture of great carbs J

If you had to choose between coffee forever and water only once or water forever and coffee only once, what would you pick?

Water forever and coffee only once.

What’s the one thing you would change about the care system?

Increase choice of better quality foster carers and residential units to give young people real choices

What would be your superhero power be?

Be invisible as I am very nosy. 

What would be your kryptonite?

People who blame as opposed to seek solutions. I'm not a superman fan but hopefully that answers your question. 

Sue Harrison - Director of Children's Services

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I am Sue Harrison, your Director of Children’s Services. I have a wonderful job as I am responsible for making sure that young people in Central Bedfordshire are supported by good quality services from the moment they are born until they reach adulthood. These services include Children’s Centres, youth work, schools and social work teams.

I have two grown up children. My son lives and works in Switzerland, and my daughter is studying for an English degree at Leeds University. My daughter had to spend a considerable amount of time in hospital as she was growing up, so I understand how for some young people there are additional challenges that are part of life. Overcoming these challenges is daily routine for some of you and I am committed to making sure that all children and young people have the best support to help you make the most of your individual talents.

I like to spend time talking with your social workers so that I can understand how they are helping you through challenging times. We always want to give you the best support possible. Listening to you is important as is explaining things clearly to you when there are changes ahead.

I meet with members of our Children in Care Council and talk to them about their time in care and how we can work together to improve services, this website is a good example of this and how I can support the important work they do. The website can be used as a way to share your experiences with the Children in Care Council and give feedback on the services you receive.

I hope that you will join in as many of the activities organised by the Children in Care council, and that you will support other young people through the work of the council. There are lots of exciting things going on, and as with most things in life, you will get out as much as you put in!

I would like to find out more from you and discover what you are most proud of as a young citizen of Central Bedfordshire. Perhaps you have questions for me or ideas of services you think I should go and visit. Perhaps you would like to tell me more about your experiences growing up here. You can contact me by email on sue.harrison@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk I am very interested in your views and hope I will meet you when I am visiting schools or at one of our events run by and for young people.

Sue Harrison's Blog

March 2017

December 2016

May 2016

January 2016

December 2015

October 2015

July 2015

May 2015

November 2014

Looked After Children

Being in Care

 

The following pages include information about what it means to be a child and young person in care as well as information on education, health and the Children in Care Council.

When you are in care you will have an allocated social worker, you should have their name and how to contact them. It is really important that you understand what is happening and so if you have any questions then ask your social worker, you may want to write them down ready for when you see them next.

Your social worker must visit you on a regular basis, during the visit the worker should ask you about your wishes and feelings and discuss with you the plans for the future, which may also be called a care plan. A care plan is about you and will include all the important things in your life, for example education, health, family contact and where you live.

 The Who Cares Trust has some really useful information about being in care and leaving care.

When you come into care you are entitled to have an advocate who is an independent person. An advocate is there to help you make sure your voice is heard or can support you during meetings or if you are not happy with any decisions which are being made. To contact an advocate speak to your social or contact the Advocacy Service on 0300 300 8787 or email advocacy@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

 

Care Leavers

Leaving Care Team

The Leaving Care Team

The Leaving Care Team’s aim is to ensure all of our children and young people in Central Bedfordshire are happy, safe and healthy.

Our team makes sure all of our children and young people are safeguarded and their welfare is being promoted whilst keeping in accordance with the governments Regulations and Guidance. The Leaving Care Team also works in accordance with supporting Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children under the legislation and regulations regarding this.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-act-1989-transition-to-adulthood-for-care-leavers

The priorities of the team is based on developing meaningful relationships with young people and on core values of good parenting to give all children and young people a decent journey through care.

The Leaving Care team has a variety of responsibilities to provide a good service to Care Leavers aged 16-21 (or 25 if staying in education). These responsibilities are:

  • Working together with young people, families and other professionals to achieve positive outcomes
  • Helping to provide accommodation to give children and young people stability and to keep safe
  • Supporting looked after young people to remain living with their foster placement if happy after they turn 18 (This scheme is called ‘Staying Put’)
  • Ensuring young people are given opportunities to develop independence skills ready for them living independently
  • Providing information for young people regarding health services available in the community
  • Promoting and supporting with education, training and employment opportunities for care leavers
  • Safeguarding young people by looking out for risks that could compromise personal safety and support the young person by involving support services which provide information around healthier lifestyles and emotional wellbeing
  • Working closely with a range of agencies and services to develop and improve service requirements to care leavers
  • Working with key partners to have a range of safe and appropriate accommodation which meets the diverse needs  of young people (Sufficiency Duty)
  • Maintaining a team that promotes advocacy and children’s rights, this can also include encouragement in participation in the Children In Care Council
  • Working well with adult services in planning placements for care leavers

When a Looked after Child is 15 (just before their 16th birthday) they are transferred to the Leaving Care Team. The young person’s social worker will work up to the 18th birthday, but at 17 1/2 a personal advisor will be introduced to the young person and for 6 months both the social worker and personal advisor will be supporting the young person. Young people will have the opportunity to have a personal advisor up until they reach 21 or 25 if staying in education.

The main role of a social worker and personal advisor is to undertake assessments, complete and review pathway plans which help to identify needs and areas of support for the young person. This can include short and long term plans, goals are normally set on a 6 monthly basis between worker and young person.

Then when children turn 16 a Pathway Plan is completed. The information in these is similar to the Care Plans but includes extra support like:

  • Focusing on any problems relating to preparing and transitioning into independent living
  • Support on accessing education, training and employment opportunities
  • Information on how to access substance misuse and sexual health services are promoted
  • Young people’s entitlement to financial support by the Local Authority
  • Contingency Plans are identified and reviewed every 6 months alongside the young people’s views

Central Bedfordshire Council has signed up to the DfE Care Leavers Charter, for further information on this please see Care Leavers Charter section.

If you do need any further information please contact your social worker or contact 0300 300 8000 and ask for the Leaving Care Team.

Thanks to our CiCC Ambassadors for their help in writing this.

Created by: Taylorfitch.