Update from Care In Action Representatives
This is an opportunity for members of Care In Action (CIA) to feedback on recent activity.
Representatives from Care in Action provided a detailed update on the activities of the group since the previous meeting of the committee. Members heard that as part of a procurement process undertaken through the West London Alliance Framework Agreement, ND and HM had taken part in the evaluation of semi-independent placement/accommodation providers. ND further advised that two LAC nurses had attended the recent CIA meeting during which the group discussed the proposal to develop a health passport. The CIA had proposed that the health passport could be encompassed within the Pathway Plan app currently being developed. ND also highlighted the work she had undertaken via the ‘Elements’ project, which included a range of confidence boosting activities culminating in an art exhibition. This had been held at the Wembley Stadium Learning Zone and had been very successful.
CM outlined the results of a recent meeting which had focussed on how safe LAC and Care Leavers felt in a range of different settings including at home, college and on social media. The feedback had largely been that young people felt safe at home and at school/college and had good days and bad days on social media, though generally felt protected by the control they had over this medium. The young people had expressed that being around people who had taken drugs or were drunk would make them feel unsafe. The importance of having people to talk to such as teachers and friends was highlighted. Responding to a question from the Deputy Leader of the Council, CM confirmed that the new lighting in the borough was brighter but had not yet been installed everywhere. ND added that there should be a greater concentration of lighting in certain areas such as parks.
JBK spoke on the feedback gathered from LAC and Care Leavers about what they felt made a good social worker, an activity which had been undertaken for World Social Worker Day. The responses had included listening to young people and acting on what was being shared. The committee also heard that the Voice in a Million concert had taken place on 14 and 15 March 2018 to raise awareness of Children in Care and had been an inspirational event.
HM explained that she had recently been elected as Deputy Chair for the relatively new London wide Children in Care Council. The London Children in Care Council had three campaigns focusing on education, money management and accommodation. HM advised that the meeting of the London Children in Care Council had been useful but there was room for improvement and it was intended to invite Directors of Children’s Services from the London Boroughs to future meetings to help kick start initiative. HM further noted that officers from the Digital Team had been working with CIA members to develop proposals for the Pathway Plan app.
PE explained that CIA had recently reviewed the Local Offer and it had been agreed that the content should be streamlined into a small booklet version. The design would mimic the Care Leavers’ Charter. Members of Care Leavers in Action had discussed the Children and Social Work Act 2017 which was updated on 1 April 2018 and sought confirmation of the implications of the update. Onder Beter explained that LAC/Care Leavers after the age of 21 could continue to be supported up to the age of 24 if they chose. PE concluded his update by announcing that he had stood down as Chair of Care in Action due to commitments in his personal life. PE advised that it had been a rewarding role and thanked the committee for their interest and support.
In the subsequent discussion, the committee reflected on the issue of loneliness for young people. Sarah Miller (Head of Inclusion and Headteacher, Brent Virtual School) highlighted the work being undertaken around support for LAC and Care Leavers attending university, advising that the possibility of establishing a phone support line staffed by a trained counsellor was being explored. The counsellor, in addition to providing direct support, would have the option of engaging with the university’s pastoral support services and the young person’s personal advisor. The closure of youth facilities was discussed as a contributing factor, as members of the CIA expressed that these were considered safe spaces in which young people could interact and engage with each other in positive ways. Councillor M Patel (Lead Member for Children and Young People) highlighted that Brent Council’s successful bid to be the Borough of Culture 2020 would provide opportunities to host activities for young people, who had been at the heart of the bid. Nigel Chapman added that discussions were being held about youth provision in Brent and work was underway to update the youth services webpage and to develop a youth service app for council and other community services. It was agreed that the youth services app should be trialled by CIA.
The Chair thanked the members of CIA for the comprehensive updates provided and congratulated HM on her election as Vice Chair of the London Children in Care Council. The committee thanked PE for his hard work and dedication to the role of Chair of CIA and wished him well in his future endeavours.
i) That the update provided by Care in Action representatives be noted;
ii) That the Strategic Director, Children and Young People ensure that members of Care in Action have the opportunity to trial the Youth Services app;
iii) That the committee’s thanks be extended to PE for his dedication shown to the role of Chair of Care in Action.