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Norfolk children’s services department is getting better, say the young people it helps

PUBLISHED: 13:56 18 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 18 March 2017

Rose, 20, and Cassie, 19, who are members of the Norfolk In Care Council. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Rose, 20, and Cassie, 19, who are members of the Norfolk In Care Council. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Archant

“We know children’s services is not perfect, but so many people are working so hard to make things better”.

That’s according to one of the members of the Norfolk In Care Council - a group made up of young people who have been in care.

The group’s role is to look at the services provided for looked after children and care leavers and to make sure their voice is heard in areas that affect their lives.

One of the ways they have done that is by developing something called The Promise - a leaflet which outlines their rights and the county council’s responsibility to them. They also produced a DVD for younger children. They have also played a part in interviewing for appointments in the department. Rose, 20, said: “We are involved in a number of things, like selection and recruitment.

“We have been involved in the recruitment of new social workers and we’ve interviewed for the director of children’s services and the head of the safeguarding board.

“There’s lots of occasions where our voice has been listened to and we meet together to make the care system a better place.” They say critical coverage of the children’s services department is hurtful to them - the council acts as their corporate parent.

Rose said: “We get that you have to report news and bad news sells, but where is the good news? We understand 
the paper’s job is to call out the council, but why does no-one ever talk about what’s improving?

“Data and numbers do not tell the full story. We are listened to here, very much so. We know children’s services is not perfect, but so many people are trying so hard to make things better.”

Cassie, 19, said, of the recent stories about conditions in Sixteen Plus, which the council contracts to provide accommodation: “There’s far more providers that offer amazing support and do more than expected of them. Places like Heath Lodge treat young people as family and go above and beyond.”

They say that success stories of young people in care can be inspirational to others in the system.

Cassie herself recently won a gold medal for creative kata at the World Martial Arts Games in South Africa and they say that is the sort of story which deserves to be highlighted.

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