Agenda item

Investing in Children / Children in Care Council Update - Presentation by Project Officer, Investing in Children


Robert Johnson (IIC Project Manager) and Caitlyn Gray (CiCC representative) presented an update of the work of the CiCC since the previous meeting in November (for copy of presentation see file of minutes), including the following:


·      Caitlyn reported that she had recently been appointed Head of the Children in Care Council.

·      Referring to the Artstops project, twelve care experienced young people now have their art displayed in bus stops.  Additional funding had enabled a wellbeing café to be held on Monday evenings at the Sjovell Centre and the young people are developing self-portraits.  Durham County Council’s Chief Executive is investigating further opportunities to develop the project as it has proved such a big success and Councillor Miller’s request to extend the project into his electoral division is progressing.


·      Two young people had been involved in delivering training to Sunderland University Social Work students, reflecting on their care experience, the support they had received and areas for improvement.  The young people received excellent feedback and one of the young people is interested in undertaking similar work with the Fostering Panel. 

·      The young people are continuing their work on care plans and the use of language. 

·      The younger members of the CiCC are looking at identity and how they are viewed as individuals in a project called ‘All About Me’.  They hope to present this work to the Panel in the future. 

·      Caitlyn gave a big ‘thank you’ to Laura and Steph who are coordinating the celebration of Care Day this year and the young people are arranging a separate event to take place in April, to which the Panel Members will be invited.

·      The CiCC is working with Newcastle University Street Law project, where ‘Street Law Ambassadors’ work with youth groups and schools to deliver sessions on legal policies and procedures which affect young people.   

·      One young person who had been particularly committed to working with the police and had participated in training sessions with the police had used the experience and positive feedback she gained from this work to help secure a full time job.

·      A further peer mentoring session is being planned to be held during February half term and the CiCC would like Members to attend the session to offer their support, as the wider group members have expressed that they would like the opportunity to spend more time getting to know Panel Members.

·      The sixth edition of the CiCC will be circulated to the Panel.


Councillor Hunt congratulated Caitlyn on her promotion and, referring to the artwork, asked how copies may be purchased.  The Project Manager advised that Members wishing to purchase copies from the artist could do by contacting him. 


Councillor Walton echoed Councillor Hunt’s congratulations to Caitlyn and thanked her for informing the young people about the work of the Corporate Parenting Panel.  She added that the Panel will welcome the opportunity to attend their events.  Referring to the success of the Artstops project she asked how the young people involved in the project felt about having their artwork displayed.  Caitlyn responded that they had been thrilled to see their art on display and for some it had provided a boost to their confidence.


Councillor Townsend commented on Caitlyn’s commitment and leadership adding that she should be proud of the work she is doing to help and encourage others. 

She spoke of how much she had enjoyed the recent event she had attended and reiterated Councillor Walton’s comments that Members will be keen to attend future events.


Councillor Gunn added her thanks and congratulations to Caitlyn and spoke of how she is proud of all the work that Caitlyn and the young people are carrying out. She suggested that in the future, the young people may wish to consider linking up with Durham’s Police and Crime Commissioner as there would be much to be gained from this partnership.


Referring to the fostering marketing campaign, Heather McFarlane, Designated Nurse for Safeguarding and Looked After Children suggested that the artwork could be featured in future television adverts.  The Head of Children’s Social Care responded that this suggestion would be considered in the future. 


Councillor Coult asked whether digital copies of the artwork were available. The Head of Inclusion and Vulnerable Children responded that digital images were available and the details would be recirculated to the Panel.


The Senior Partnerships Officer informed the Panel that a full list of dates of future events would be compiled and circulated to Members, with the Artstops information and the CiCC newsletter.


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