‘We are ambitious and aspirational for all our Looked after Children young people and care leavers. We're determined that we 'look after' them as we would look after our own children.’
The term we sometimes use is 'looked after’. This means children and young people who are the subject of statutory measures and are in care. This may mean they live in:
- foster care;
- kinship care; or
- residential care
or could mean they remain at home supported by social work services.
Fife Council, along with many partner organisations, is committed to working together. This partnership approach seeks to achieve the best possible positive outcomes:
- to promote the wellbeing of Looked After children, young people and care-leavers
- to improve their life outcomes
- to listen to their views .
Part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, states:
'Corporate parenting is about certain organisations listening to the needs, fears and wishes of children and young people. As well as being proactive and determined in their collective efforts to meet them'.
The Act, supported by statutory guidance defines who Corporate Parents are and outlines their six legal responsibilities.
‘Guess who is a looked after child?’ Campaign
Fife Council, along with its partner organisations (Corporate Parents) are raising awareness of the need to treat looked after children and young people fairly by running a campaign called ‘Guess who is a looked after child?’
Young people who have experienced being in care are just like other children and should be treated fairly by everyone in their community. As they grow up, they go to school, get jobs, and have families, fitting into society just like everyone else. Many go on to have wide and varied careers overcoming the obstacles they faced in their early years.
They face many challenges along the way and unfortunately this can also include the prejudices they encounter from other people in their community.
Negative attitudes make it harder for looked after children and young people to have confidence in themselves and to feel positive about their futures. Like most children, looked after children want to do their best and make the adults around them proud. By living in a positive environment with people who have positive attitudes towards them we believe looked after children and young people can and will achieve success in life.
Our aim isto challenge negative perceptions and create a more informed and positive community where the life outcomes of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Fife can be improved.
Please show you care by treating all children and young people fairly and perhaps consider fostering a child, young person or sibling group, or supporting a young person into independence by becoming a supported lodgings carer. To find out more go to www.fifedirect.org.uk/fosterforfife or www.fifedirect.org.uk/supportedlodgings
To support this Fife partners have established a Corporate Parent Board. The Board has a wide range of members (hyperlink to members list). The role of the Board includes:
- being ambitious for all our Looked After children, young people and careleavers;
- setting strategic objectives for children’s services across the partnership;
- being aware of progress made by all agencies in achieving better outcomes
The Board looks to achieve the above through activities and a process of self-evaluation. The Board also champions their rights and asks the question : Is this good enough for my own child?
The Board has an Improvement Plan (see publication below) for 2016-18 which identifies many key priorities. These are in line with statutory duties.
This is further supported by an Activity Plan (see publication below) for 2016-18.
The plan seeks to improve outcomes by undertaking activity in key areas. One area is listening to the views of Looked After children, young people and careleavers on the services that they receive.
Positive partnership working helps us to achieve these activities. Some of the proposed activity builds on previous plans and some areas are new.
Participation & Consultation
Over the last two years the Board has heard and listened to the voices of Looked After children, young people and careleavers. This work has led to the establishment of the 2BHeard Forums. The 2BHeard forums support young people, aged 12 and over, to meet weekly and express their views about the services which they receive. These are then feedback to the Corporate Parent Board as two young people from the Forums sit on the Board. Some of the young people are still Looked After and others are careleavers.
The Forum first met in February 2014 in a youth centre in Kirkcaldy. Initial work was about helping the members to shape the group’s identity. For example the group chose their name and were fully involved in developing the content of their first flyer to advertise what they were doing.
During the first few months the group also focussed on the key question of ‘What care should look like’ and as a result of their hard work and discussions they produced their Wish List and their short film (http://vimeo.com/96956636).
In June 2014 they presented their ‘Wish List’ and film at a Corporate Parent event. Since then the ‘Wish List’ and film have been shown at various meetings and events, including a full Fife Council meeting. The film was received extremely well by elected members who offered their full support to the group. The ‘Wish List’ was adopted by the Board and has since been turned into a written Pledge ‘for all Looked After children, young people and careleavers in Fife. To support the Pledge the Board has also recently endorsed the ‘Listen Up: Looked After Children Involvement Strategy 2015’.
The Forum now has three established groups which meet weekly during school terms in Cupar, Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline. During school holidays members also take part in fun activities.
The groups also take part in consultations such as:
· the design of ‘Having Your Say ‘ forms
· the development of a ‘Pledge’
· housing for careleavers
Members of the group also take part in local and national events such as the Fife Youth Forum and events run by Who Cares (Scotland).
If you would like further information on the Forums, or if you are a young person who would like to join a Forum then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow the work of the forums on Twitter @2BHeardFife and their website
The 'Meet Sid' website for children and young people
Some years ago, with the help of Who Cares? Scotland,a group of young people living in care looked at how the National Care Standards could be made easier for young people to understand. That meeting brought to life some amazing thinking that clarified what it is like to go into care.
Young people coming into care find themselves trying to make sense of a new way of life. They are often confused, hurt and scared. The expression “I may as well have been on another planet” made sense to everyone. And so Sid the Alien came to represent the experience of going into care for the first time.
The Sid concept grew into the Meet Sid website featuring 6 short films about Sid. More recently new videos, a game, plus the arrival of older Sid. No planet’s perfect, and being a teenager is never easy wherever you live, but we all have the right to a happy life.
- respectme.org.uk/children - provide children with anti-bullying information.
- The rest of the site providing details of Scotland's anti-bullying service.
The Moodcafe site promotes mental health services.
Which and includes sections for parents, carers and for children and young people.