Our pledge to children in care
Children in care and care leavers have helped to write our pledge to children in care - an important document which sets out what children in care can expect from us, Hampshire County Council, as their corporate parents.
Our pledge to children in care
Help you to access health services e.g. doctors
Support you in being healthy, both physically and mentally
Support you in identifying and taking part in positive activities, interests and hobies
Be contactable through a variety of ways and get back to you within 24 hours
Make time for you to talk one-to-one with us on your own
Be open and honest about your care and support you when changes are made
Encourage your participation in your Care Plan and other plans related to your care
Listen to your complaints and act on them as soon as is possible
Make information available to you, so you know your entitlements and rights
Not make you feel 'different' at school, e.g. not take you out of a class for a meeting, and pay for you to go on trips etc.
Support you in accessing academic and non-academic opportunities, not just at school or college, apprenticeships, NVQs, other qualifications and job opportunities
Involve you in decisions made about your education, and when additional help is needed, why is this necessary
Involve you in decisions around your individual budget
Support you to access the college/university of your choice, should this be something you wish to do
Provide you with support, if you feel you need it
Not 'kick you out' on your 18th birthday
Provide and support you in building the skills to live on your own
Help you find somewhere to live and make sure you have everything you need
Give you information about your entitlements and support you in accessing them
Where possible, try to find you a placement with your siblings
Support you in transitions from placement to placement
Make better long-term plans for you, not just 'quick fixes'
Find you a foster carer who suits you and meets your needs
Involve you in your placement planning
Keep you informed, where appropriate, about contact arrangements and how and when this can happen
Your Future, we will:
Help you plan, as a good parent should
Support and help you build the life skills needed in becoming an adult
Not judge you based on how you have acted in the past, but who you are now
Encourage you to be the very best you can be
Support and help you in achieving your goals
Always be there to support you, even when you make mistakes
About the pledge
The Pledge builds upon the original Pledge created in 2008 and work the County Council is already doing to support young people in its care. The County Council’s care ambassadors, all young people who have experienced the care system, are another important element of the County Council’s support to children in care. They have worked on the revised version in consultation with other young people who are or have been in the care of the County Council.
Joe, aged 19 and one of the care ambassadors who helped with the revision, said: “We wanted to make it more aspirational.” While the original Pledge concentrated on the practical support which children in care need, the new one also incorporates elements relating to the emotional support they need and a pledge to encourage children in care to aspire to go to college or university and to help them with those aims.
“It’s not about providing money and things,” added 21-year-old fellow care ambassador, Sadie. “It’s about having people who are there for you, to talk to you, to give you time one-to-one. There for you when you need advice or are in difficulties, but also there for you when you do well or need encouragement. We want the corporate parents to behave like any other parents.”
Sadie said that she hoped the new Pledge would help children and young people in care feel that being in care could be a positive thing. “People tend to view being in care as a negative thing but if someone is in care it is not because they have done anything wrong. The changes to the Pledge show young people that with the sort of support they want, emotional and well as practical, being in care can be a positive thing.”
During the consultation it was clear from the young people that it is not material things that children in care need most – but emotional support and practical guidance so added into the Pledge are new clauses which promise to:
support them accessing academic and non-academic qualifications
support them to access college/university of their choice if that is what they wish to do
make more long-term plans for them not just quick solutions for immediate crises
ensure more one-to-one time with care workers
help children and young people build life skills needed to move into adulthood, including how to budget
maintain support beyond the age of 18 to care leavers if needed.
The County Council has already done much to support these aspects of the Pledge.
Young people are more involved in their care planning having a direct say in arrangements made for them.
There is already a well-established link with Winchester University enabling young people in care to get a taste of university life.
The County Council has initiated a special internship/apprenticeship programme for care leavers.
The Council has introduced a new training programme for Foster Carers to enable them to help young people in their care develop life skills which will help them in young adulthood.