To consider the Satisfaction Survey and make comment on the Challenge Cards.
The Chief Executive of Participation Children introduced the young person from CLiCC who attended the meeting. She explained there were 2 Satisfaction Surveys one for age 2-11 year olds and another for 11-18 year olds the same questions were used every year and were aiming for 100 responses this year. They would report back on the survey to the meeting of the Board in February 2020.
The Board considered the 4 Challenge Cards:
Challenge One – “Young people struggle to understand job titles. How can you make every professional’s job title, youth friendly?”
Response - Officers confirmed that the job title did not always tell people what they did and hoped the postcards that had been completed were useful. The Board and officers mentioned their job title and what they did. The Chief Executive of Participation People gave an example of a title that the young people did not know what they were, eg Operations Manager. Officers agreed and explained that a Corporate Director in Dorset would be a different role to that of a Corporate Director in BCP. It was agreed that officers would let CLiCC have a list of their job titles and ask the young people to let them know what they think the job should be called. If the young people let officers know what titles they were looking at they would go and see them and let them know what they did. The Chairman felt this was something for the CLiCC Workshops
The Independent Visitor colleague from DAIVS explained it was hard to talk about their role and were looking to change the name.
The Chairman asked the young person if they were happy with the response – which they were.
Challenge Two – “Children and young people in care have told us that sometimes they need to speak to Social Workers privately, but it can be awkward to ask for this in front of Foster Carers.” “We would like to be given the opportunity to meet and speak privately without being afraid of offending Foster Carers. How can you help us?”
Response - Officers explained social workers should always see a child or young person alone and they would be reminded of that unless the child or young person did not raise that as a challenge. Officers confirmed they would ensure that happened.
The Chairman mentioned that not wanting to offend foster carers should not worry young people and asked whether there was a briefing that could be given to foster carers. Officers confirmed that foster carers should not be offended as this was not about them or about the request.
The Chief Executive of Participation People thought it might be an idea to complete another postcard about “Your rights when seeking your social worker”. Officers confirmed the responsibility was the social workers’ for seeing children and young people on their own.
Challenge 3 – “Children in foster placements want to be treated as part of the family. It is hurtful to go to respite care when the rest of the family have their holiday. Children in foster care want to be part of family holidays. How can you help us?”
Response - Officers thought this was a tricky question as sometimes foster carers needed a short break and the authority should ensure young people have something fun to do and have a little break. It was considered that all young people and children that the authority looked after should have a holiday and most of the time the authority would want young people to go on holiday with their foster family. There were occasions when perhaps the foster carer was unwell and could not always be there. Officers should talk to children and young people in advance to ensure they know what respite would be like and whether there was something different that could be arranged, eg staying with a relative or friend for a few nights. The young person asked whether there were any situations where foster carers had said yes to the child or young person going away with them. Officers mentioned that it could be the case that the children and young people did not have a passport and that was something that needed to be addressed. On occasion a family may have booked a holiday before the young person moved in with them. The Authority needed to do whatever they could to ensure that did not happen.
Challenge Four – “Care Leavers have told us that don’t feel they have been equipped with the skills to properly manage their money and to budget effectively. What is in place to help give young people these life skills? What else could be done?”
Response - Officers mentioned there had been discussion recently about how the Authority helped young people. Several of the banks and building societies offered support and officers though about approaching some of the them to see whether they would provide training for some of our young people. It was hoped to talk to the banks and see what they can provide and also speak with foster carers and ensure they do what would be expected of them in providing guidance to young people to enable them to budget and have life skills, and that over time they give young people clothing money and perhaps money to buy food etc.
The Corporate Director of Education and Learning thought this was important as leaving care was a major step and confirmed he would speak with the banks and inform CLiCC if anything could be provided for the young people.
The young person asked even if there was nothing in the system why could the schools not teach them.
The colleague from DAIVS confirmed they had run a scheme with CAP and would let officers have a named contact. The Chief Executive of Participation People gave some other examples of other life skills the young people ought to be aware of.
Officers confirmed the skills required were needed before the young people left care and it was up to foster carers, schools and residential providers to ensure they were equipped with these life skills as they were growing up. It was considered that pathway plans should provide some of the skills required and officers would need to look at the quality of the pathway plans.
The Foster Carer representative asked whether this could be included on the Foster Carers Forum agenda. Officers confirmed this could be included.
It was confirmed officers would have answers for the young people at the next meeting of the Board on 9 December 2019 and the item would be placed on the Foster Carers Forum agenda.
1. That the responses to the challenges be actioned as set out in the minutes.
2. That life skills training be included on the Foster Carers Forum agenda.