To receive an update from the Children in Care Council and Participation People.
The Chief Executive of Participation People introduced a member of the Care Leavers (and Children) in Care Council (CLICC) who introduced herself and mentioned she would circulated dates for the diary of activities for 2019 which she hoped members of the Board would be able to attend.
She informed the Board of the activities CLICC had been involved in; one of which was face mask painting and African drumming. The awards ceremony was held in October. In May they had visited London and attended Children’s Rights and talked to a poet who had been in care and discussed his experiences.
The Chairman mentioned she thought that everyone coming into Dorset was told about their rights. CLICC thought it might be easier if they received a sheet with their rights written on.
The Chief Executive Participation People confirmed during the past year they had produced a Looked After Children (LAC) Pack which was given to all young people coming into care. She referred to the annual satisfaction survey, and how they had spoken with young people about advocacy and how to complain and to the Board meeting held in February 2019 where CLICC had discussed being called LAC. The problems they had with travel arrangements and, as a result, she had been working with officers to resolve some of the issues. CLICC had produced a magazine and moving forward they would produce homework for CPB members to be given at every meeting of the Board. Training sessions on “What does it mean to be a child in care?” were being held during July, August and October which CLICC would like Board members to sign up to. An email would be circulated to members for them to respond.
The Corporate Parenting Officer discussed how to engage members who were not on CPB and suggested that CLICC offer some training days and asked CPB members to encourage other members to attend.
The CLICC member mentioned the Happy Dorset video and what would make Dorset a better place to live. The Chief Executive Participation People confirmed the aim was to inspire Corporate Parents to remind them of what it was like to be a young person, she would email Board members a link to the video.
Looking to the future CLICC informed the Board they would be performing Shrek the musical to be held at Stratton Village Hall on 31 July 2019, they were having a day of exercise and a CLICC logistic operation and problem solving afternoon. How to contact a social worker when they were on holiday and could not speak with anyone was proving a real problem as was broken promises. A day out for CLICC was to be arranged, probably to a theme park.
The Chairman referred to broken promises and changes of staff, it was not the first time she had heard this.
The Executive Director for People – Children mentioned the challenge was that social workers wanted to do their best but things were not easily followed through.
One member asked if the Board could receive a list of the broken promises, for example “We did promise an advocate and that was not forthcoming.”
The CLICC representative gave an example regarding her social worker and that it took her about 2 weeks to get back to her when she requests to see her family. She had mentioned her birthday but hadn’t heard back from her social worker. Officers confirmed that someone would get back to her regarding visiting her family and that the social worker would be able to make those decisions, there were other requests that would need to go to the team manager for consideration.
One member asked the young person what happened if she could not get hold of her social worker to make a complaint and who was it easier to get hold of her advocate or her social worker and how did she communicate with her social worker. The young person confirmed her advocate helped her a great deal and it was easier for her to get hold of her advocate. She did not have a direct way of communicating with her social worker.
Officers confirmed young people should have an email address to contact their social worker.
One member thought there must be better ways of communicating with the social worker even out of the office. He mentioned the timescale of 2 weeks for a social worker to get back to the young people was unacceptable and that 3 days turnaround seemed more reasonable.
The Executive Director for People – Children thought it would be interesting to hear what service standards young people would like.
The Chief Executive of Participation People confirmed that 3 days was what they were asking for.
1. That CLICC provide training days for members of the Board and they encourage members not on CPB to attend.
2. That the Chief Executive Participation People email a link to the video Happy Dorset.
3. That CLICC provide Board members with a list of broken promises.
4. That officers provide young people with an email address to contact their social worker and ensure communication between the Social Worker and young people improves.