The independent review of social care has announced today that it will work with A National Voice to help care-experienced children and young people across the country have their say on the review.
A National Voice was established by care-experienced young people almost two decades ago and became part of Coram Voice in 2017. It is funded by the Segelman Trust to strengthen the national children in care council and create more opportunities for children in care and care leavers to participate in meaningful engagement and campaigning at a local and national level.
A National Voice will lead a programme of work from March, working with local authorities to engage their Children in Care Councils in the review.
The government launched the independent review of children’s social care in January 2021, setting out to radically reform the system and improve the lives of children and young people in care. Today’s announcement is part of the care review engagement plan, published today, which has been developed with the review’s Expert by Experience Board who all have personal experience of children’s social care. The plan sets out a wide range of engagement methods with the aim of enabling thousands of people to engage and participate in the review.
As part of this work, the A National Voice ambassadors will develop plans and resources to disseminate to Children in Care Councils across England, supporting them to run sessions locally to gather children and young people’s feedback on the review. Session plans will be tailored for different age groups to be delivered through Junior Children in Care Councils (under 11s), Children in Care Councils (12+) and care leaver forums.
A National Voice will also look at adapting resources and communication methods to reach often lesser-heard groups who may not be involved in their Children in Care Council, including young people with disabilities, young parents, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, and young people in residential homes, so that all children and young people have the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the review.
The current A National Voice ambassadors were appointed in November 2020 and between them cover every region in England, and include ambassadors representing unaccompanied asylum seekers, young people living in residential homes, young parents, LGBTQ+ young people, care leavers studying at university, and young people with disabilities.
Jenny Humphreys, Participation Manager at Coram Voice, said: “The care review presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure the care system provides children and young people with the support they need, and it’s crucial that their voices, views and experiences are at the heart of this.
“A National Voice has come a long way in the last 12 months and with our ambassador network across England, we are excited to work with as many children and young people as possible to ensure their messages to the review are heard loud and clear.”
Leah Jayne, one of the young ambassadors, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to support the care review, sharing our journey and thoughts, driving forward reform. We are a platform for change and this is a fantastic avenue to really amplify the voices of care-experienced people.”
A National Voice is now inviting Children in Care Councils and young people to sign up in the programme and to register their interest.