This year’s Children in Care and Care Leavers’ Conference was a big success, and we wanted to share it with you!
Organised by the Children in Care and Care Leavers’ Councils plus the Inclusion team, over 70 professionals and young people attended the event at Wallasey Town Hall. There was cake, workshops, film and music, as the group got together to talk about how to offer the best service to children looked after and care leavers.
This important event is now in its second year and aims to encourage positive relationships between social workers and young people.
Here’s what we did on the day:
- Quick ice breaker with a prize for the winner (chocolates!)
- Introduction from the Children in Care Council’s Katie
- We watched a great video, made with the help of children looked after in Wirral from our Listen to Me Awards
- Lucie from the Care Leavers’ Council asked everyone to write down the things they cared about most in their lives. She then asked them to cross out a number of those things in stages, until everything was crossed out – asking them how they felt at each stage. The things written down varied, but most people included their children, partners, houses, jobs, photographs and pets. People said that they felt worse each time they lost something, until eventually they were “devastated”. Lucie explained that many young people lose everything they care about when they become looked after, and this loss of control and upset can be devastating. Their life then becomes about working to find and have those things back again.
- Workshops: These included interactive workshops from therightsideofcare.com, the complaints and 14-19 service, and the question: ‘What makes a good leaving care service?’ which included quizzes and group discussions. The leaving care group wrote their ideas down for staff teams on paper dolls, which will now be passed on to relevant staff members by Director Julia Hassall. These workshops were followed by the ‘Ideal social worker visit’ workshop, which saw everyone write down what they thought made an ideal visit– from both the professional’s and the young person’s perspective.
- Quizzes – guess the song and artist (all of the artists have been in foster care) and statistics around children looked after in Wirral and beyond.
- Liverpool John Moores University research findings: Martin explained how the CICC and Care Leavers’ Councils recently took part in a study with the university. The study asked young people about the attributes they valued in a social worker. Results from Wirral included: reliability, knowledge of the law, taking an interest, and interpersonal skills.
- We watched a video made by the CICC which looks at the qualities needed to make a foster carer great.
- Chloe talked about her experience of the Children in Care Council.
- Katie talked about her experience of the Children in Care Council, Young Inspectors Project, Young Researchers Programme, and more. Based on her blog from the rightsideofcare.com.
- Martin talked about his experience of the Children in Care Council and Inclusion Service, plus his veterinary nursing degree and new career.
- Call for CICC members and feedback on the boards in the room.
- Goodbye and close
Move – when you hear the buzzer!
At the start of the event, we gave one person on each table a gold star – and when they heard the buzzer, they were told to switch tables in a clockwise direction. We asked them at the end of the event to describe how that effected their enjoyment of the workshops and discussions. Many of them said that it disrupted the event for them, as they didn’t get chance to engage with the group or settle into the discussions. The purpose of this was to show how difficult it can be for young people to settle in their lives and flourish when they are regularly being moved around to different homes.
Recommendations from the conference:
- Conference to be a yearly event.
- Staff to prioritise conference.
- All information from the Care Leavers’ Workshop (‘what makes a good care leavers’ service?’) to be sent to Director Julia Hassall. Julia Hassall will distribute this information to relevant professionals and ask for feedback. The Inclusion Service will ensure that feedback and comments are shared with the Children in Care and Care Leavers’ Councils, and put on www.therightsideofcare.com.
- Information from the ‘what makes a good social worker?’ workshops to generate a leaflet and be sent out to all social workers and young people.
- “Bigger venue next year.”
- “Great event! Wonderful to have young people organising the event talking directly to us!”
- “Great to see the enthusiasm and confidence of the young people who led the complaints workshop.”
- “This was amazing. I loved it. Thank-you.”
- “Well done. Really makes you think about how it all impacts on young people – put yourself in their shoes.”
- “I need to get more social workers along next time.”
- “A good reminder of how it feels to not be in control of your future.”
- “Well done to all the young people who planned and delivered today’s event. It was great!”
- “It would be a good idea to have a presentation of what the Children in Care Council has achieved over the year.”
- “Really good experience in reminding us what it’s like from the young person’s view.”
- “Thank-you to the young people for sharing their experiences.”
- “The best part was meeting our amazing young people – you are inspiring!”
- “Happy to listen to needs of young people – what’s working well and not so well, commission linked to this. Two –way relationship.”
- “Very moving being asked to change seats – should be on social work training!”
- “I would like to see a mentor / befriending scheme in Wirral for children looked after – what do you think?”
- “Thank-you. I think you worked really hard and you gave me a much clearer view of what life is like as a looked after.”
- “Bigger room and event next year”
- “Excellent conference, well organised and well attended by young people and partner agencies. Loved the activities but we did the top 10 list last year so I feel the impact of this was lost on some of us.”
- “It went well.”
- “Very short but intense.”
- “Well done.”
- “Thank-you for sharing your thoughts with us and for making us listen. Well done!”
- Loved the event. Well organised . Thanks!”
- “Young people – thank-you for giving up your time.”
- “Informative and helpful.”
- “Really enjoyed the conference. Well organised by the young people. Well done!”
- “Really good, insightful. Nice to hear from the young people.”
- “This was an excellent conference so thank-you. I will take some of these experiences back into my work.”
- “Great morning. Keep up the good work CICC. Today really made me think as a practitioner.”