Luke delivered a presentation on Care Day which celebrates care experienced children and young people. Luke informed the Panel of some of the activities that would take place at the event, including an ideas area for young people to share their views on how to continue to improve the future for young people in care. The Panel also considered a letter from Investing in Children which sought support for a campaign highlighting the findings from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care (for copy of presentation and letter see file of minutes).
A short film to promote the campaign was shown, entitled ‘Don’t Forget Us!’ Billie Leigh was involved in developing the script for the film. The film raises awareness of the issues facing children in care and requests viewers to challenge negative attitudes and to lobby local MPs to prioritise the rights of children in care. The Children in Care Council requested the Panel’s support to promote the film and to show the film in public areas of Council buildings. They also requested that consideration be given to showing the film at Lumiere 2023. Emma Todd, Senior Marketing Officer, agreed that a meeting should be arranged, outside of the Panel meeting, to discuss the various options available to promote the campaign.
Members discussed that the film should be shown in all schools and that it should be promoted as widely as possible within communities, ensuring that it reaches the smaller and more rural towns and villages. It was also agreed that the film should be shown at a meeting of the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The Panel discussed alternative routes into social work and the view was expressed that there may be many people who have the attributes to be a good Social Worker however their lack of a degree level education may be preventing them from coming forward.
In response to an observation from the Panel on the frequency of Social Worker change, officers highlighted that the issue is reviewed through regular performance monitoring. The Strategic Manager for Looked After and Permanence explained that, following a restructure of the service in 2022, a change of Social Worker is no longer required when a young person reaches the age of 16.
The Strategic Manager emphasised that many changes are often planned and positive changes. In response to a question from the Panel as to how young people are engaged when change occurs, the Strategic Manager stated that tools such as the Signs of Safety practice model ‘Words and Pictures’ can be used to help to explain each step of a young person’s journey. Officers commented that further information on planned and unplanned changes and alternative routes into social work could be provided at a future panel meeting.
During the discussion, the Panel also acknowledged the value that kinship carers bring to the service.
In response to the request from the young people to raise awareness through MPs, the Chair informed the Panel that a letter would be sent to local MPs on behalf of the Corporate Parenting Panel.