A National Voice is the ‘National Children in Care Council’ for children in care and care leavers aged 11-26, who are passionate about how the care system works and how it affects those within it.
We work to improve the care system through the voices of care experienced young people. We will empower children and young people by giving them the skills and support to make real change at both a local and national level.
We also work with care experienced children and young people to overcome issues which we feel are significant, through local and national campaigns, influencing government and creating opportunities for children in care and care leavers to come together in shared spaces.
Who are A National Voice?
A National Voice was established almost two decades ago by care experienced young people, in order to make sure children in care and care leavers voices were heard at a national level. In 2017, A National Voice joined Coram Voice and continues its work through national projects.
Recent A National Voice projects for children and young people include:
- An ambassador programme that brings young people together monthly in order to represent young people’s voice nationally and develop campaigns or resources to address the issues that they identified. We support these young people to develop skills in public speaking, facilitation training, media training confidence building.
- A training programme for student social workers in what it is like to be a child in and leaving care, developed and delivered by young people and piloted at Royal Holloway University.
- Working with Children in Care Councils across England to explore key issues and inform campaigns or projects around what is important to young people.
A National Voice Campaigns
A National Voice has led the campaign on many issues including:
A virtual campaign, with the aim of dismantling the stigma and negative stereotypes that people hold about children in care and care leavers. Care experienced children and young people and professionals filled in downloadable cards and shared via social media how they would “Change the Label”.
- This is Not a Suitcase
A campaign to raise the issue with local authorities that no young person should move home with their belongings in bin bags.
This campaign focused on an appalling issue where young people were being forced to use bin bags for their belongings when moving home. As a result of our work we raised the issue nationally and made local authorities change their approach.
- There’s no place like home
Campaign for better quality accommodation for care leavers moving out of foster care and residential care.
With this campaign, we highlighted the lack of quality in the accommodation received by young people leaving care. We put the spotlight on what needed to be improved and continue to push for improvements on this issue.
- Please sir can I have some more
Campaign for narrowing the educational achievement gap between children in care and their peers. Raising awareness and calling on local authorities and the government to do more to fill this.
Research showed that children in care weren’t achieving as much as their peers in terms of educational results. There is now a real focus of local authorities to support care leavers more on this issue.
Improvements have seen the introduction of virtual school heads and an expectation on authorities to have higher aspirations for their young people and help them to achieve their potential.
- Setting up Home Grant
Campaign to ensure all care leavers are given a minimum of £2000 to support them setting up home.
A “local offer” for care leavers is now national policy with many local authorities going above and beyond in their offer, but we continue to highlight inequalities for care leavers and the “postcode lottery” many face.
The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care
The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care was announced in March 2020 and has been set up by the government to make sure children and young people in and leaving care get the support they need. This is an important piece of work and the opportunity to shape social care (social workers, being in care, leaving care) in England.
As part of the review, we have shared what we have learned from our Bright Spots work, we have offered support to the review through our A National Voice program, to make sure the voices of more children and young people in care and leaving care are heard.
A National Voice Ambassadors Group
Key to A National Voice is the ‘A National Voice Ambassadors Group’, which is a core group of young people aged 16-26 recruited annually from across the country, to represent each region and bridge the gap between local and national campaigns.
This group meet regularly throughout the year to coordinate the national program and plan national events.
We are recruiting the new group of A National Voice Ambassadors for 2020/21. Full info on how to apply.
We want all young care experienced children to take part in A National Voice and become part of our online community by using the hashtag #ANationalVoice and following our Twitter account @CoramVoice.
You will be part of and lead conversations with young people and the professionals supporting them. We will also provide links to useful resources and sharing events, activities and opportunities happening with children in care and care leavers at a local and national level.
We want to enable young people to link up with others in a safe, online space, carefully led and moderated by our participation team. We want this to be a space where people are free to share their views and let us know what they think of the care system.
How to get involved
Alternatively, you can email ANV@Coramvoice.org.uk for more information or to find out more about getting involved with A National Voice.
Please read our privacy notice before applying.