Kent Cares Town

Thanks for visiting Kent Cares Town. This website is for all young people who are or who have been in the care of Kent County Council. Choose the section that best suits you to find out more.

Primary

This is the section to find out everything you need to know about being in care if you are aged under 11. Click on the superheroes below!

Secondary

Aged 11 to 16? Click below to learn about being in care, how Kent County Council supports your education and health and lots more.

Moving On

Click here to find out about what happens when you turn 18. The information here will help you plan for when you leave care and start to live independently.

Get Involved!

There is a gallery of wonderful art created by children in care and you can even send in your poems, stories and experiences to our Writers’ Corner!

Latest News

Keep up to date with all the latest news!

Looking After Teenagers in Today’s Modern World’ and the Association of Kent Headteachers Conferences

The Virtual School Kent Participation Team were proud to support Kent Fostering to deliver the ‘Looking After Teenagers in today’s Modern World’ Conference on 13th November.

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After a powerful and inspiring keynote speech from the care experienced author, Jenny Molloy, the younger members of the Participation Team, many of whom are still teenagers themselves, took over!  They wanted to help the foster carers and practitioners in the audience understand what it is really like to be a teenager today and the pressures and challenges they face, particularly if they are growing up in care.  Many of them shared their own personal stories about growing up in care and reflected on those things that helped them the most.  Mark Vening, head of Fostering, also discussed the development of teenagers’ brains and how this can affect their behaviour and there was a trip back in time to the 1980s to remind foster carers of their own teenage years!

Then, on 21st November, the team presented to over 200 Kent headteachers at the Kent Association of Headteachers Conference in Ashford.  With the theme of the conference being how to create schools that are inclusive, aspirational and supportive of learners and staff, the Apprentice Participation Workers were pleased to be able to share with the delegates the voices of vulnerable learners.  They wanted the headteachers in the room to really put themselves in the place of a vulnerable learner whether this is a child in care, an adopted young person, a child for whom English isn’t their first language or one that may be suffering upheaval or trauma in their lives.  The Apprentices shared the strategies and ideas that young people have told them support them at school to learn so they can do their best.

The team was pleased that at both conferences the voices of young people were kept at the centre!

KFRS Road Savvy Event November 16th.

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service are kick starting Brake Road Safety Week, with an event allowing a glimpse into the work our emergency services do.

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On November 16th, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) are offering 300 FREE tickets to their first ever, ‘Road Savvy’ event. This will kick start the ‘Brake Road Safety Week’. 

KFRS carry out over 1000 car crash rescues every year, and to drive these numbers down they will be hosting a Road Savvy event. For anyone who manages to get hold of one of the 300 free tickets, they have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the work that our emergency services carry out. 

This event plans to inform people about safety behind the wheel and the potential impact of their actions whether they are driving, a passenger or a pedestrian. 

With a huge amount of interest already in this event, KFRS are hoping they can inform and educate people of all ages to be more aware of safety on the roads.

For more information and to register for your FREE ticket, click here. 

 

Virtual Tour de Kent

On Wednesday 23rd October, Kent Care Leavers embarked on a 229-mile virtual ‘Tour De Kent’ to raise money for a fantastic charity - the Young Lives Foundation.

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Members of Kent’s Young Adult Council, the Participation Team and other Kent County Council staff took over County Hall in Maidstone to complete the challenge.  As well as raising lots of money for charity, the event marked this year’s Care Leavers’ Week (28th Oct – 3rd Nov).

The Tour de Kent was designed by the VSK Participation Team and highlighted key areas in Kent that Young People in Care and Care Leavers might be familiar with. Starting from County Hall in Maidstone, we ran, cycled, walked and rowed the distance to Dover, then to Margate, into Gravesend, down to Royal Tunbridge Wells, through Ashford, into Canterbury and finishing, 229 miles later, back at County Hall.

Charlotte Creasy, a member of the Young Adult Council said: “This is a great way to get involved and give back, it was a great day and a fun way to fundraise.”

We know how important Care Leavers week is and it’s during this week that Kent County Council highlight the needs of Care Leavers and renews its commitment to providing support for Young People turning 18, to give them the best start in life.

We are proud to have raised an incredible amount of money for our chosen charity. The Young Lives Foundation provides dedicated support for over 3,500 young people within Kent every year! The support they offer includes mentoring support, advocacy work, befriending schemes and activity days. The money raised will help to continue to deliver this service and support for Kent Care Leavers.

Hearing the voice of Kent children and young people is important and to mark Care Leavers’ Week Kent County Council will be sending out a survey to all of its Care Leavers seeking their views on what it’s like to be a Care Leaver in Kent.  Find it here.

We cannot thank everyone enough for taking part and donating!

Have Your Say on the Care Leavers 18+ Service

Our Young Adult Council (YAC) wants to hear your views about the services the Care Leavers 18+ Service provides again this year.

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To do this, they have launched a survey designed to find out about your experiences of leaving care and identify where the 18+ Service can improve.  This survey is open to all Care Leavers aged 18 and over who were in the care of Kent County Council and are now supported by the Care Leavers 18+ Service.

Click here to access the survey.  You can answer in a variety of languages such as Pashto or Tigriyan and all your answers are anonymous, so you can be as honest as you want - tell us what you really think!  It’s easy to complete and should only take about 5 minutes.

YAC is urging as many care leavers as possible to take part as you are best placed to tell the Care Leavers 18+ Service what being a care leaver is really like and how they can make things better for you and others.  It’s your chance to rate the 18+ Service and let them know your views about Pathway Planning, your placement and how informed you feel about the services they provide. 

SHARE YOUR VIEWS AND HAVE YOUR SAY! The survey closes on 17th November.

Cick here to view older news items

Corporate Parents

When you are in care, your corporate parents are the people who have responsibility for keeping you safe and looking after your wellbeing. They make sure your time in care is as positive as it can be, listen to your opinions and have your best interests at heart. They will help you if you have a problem and care about how you are feeling.

This isn’t just one person but a large group of different people. Your corporate parents include staff in Kent County Council like your social worker, personal adviser or independent reviewing officer, doctors, nurses and other health care workers, the police, staff in schools and colleges and others who work with and look after you. It also includes senior staff at Kent County Council. Some of these people are shown below.

Click on the images to find out more

Matt Dunkley CBE

Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education

“I want you to help me make Kent the best place for children and young people to grow up, learn, develop and achieve.”

Roger Gough

Leader of Kent County Council

“I think it is really important that children in care have people to speak for them, to support them and to promote their interests.”

Ann Allen MBE

Chairman of Kent County Council and Chair of the Corporate Parenting Panel

“We need to ask ourselves ‘what is a good parent?’ and do the same as corporate parents as we would for our own children.”

Sarah Hammond

Director Integrated Services (Children's Social Work Lead)

Stuart Collins

Director Integrated Services (Early Help and Preventative Services Lead)

Caroline Smith

Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting

“As a Corporate Parent, I want the absolute best for our children and young people, ensuring they get the right support to achieve their full potential.”

Tony Doran

VSK Headteacher

“The best thing about my job is seeing the great outcomes achieved by the amazing young people that I serve.”

Nicola Anthony

Head of Fostering - Eastern Division

“Our aim is to recruit and supervise the very best foster carers to promote a safe and secure environment for children and young people in Kent.”

Paul Startup

Head of the Care Leavers 18+ Service

“The best thing about my job is working with the staff and the young people, being around people and trying to help them as best as I can.”

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Matt Dunkley CBE

Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education

I am the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education Services. I am really pleased that we have now brought together all services for children and young people in one department. As Director, it means that I have a legal responsibility to ensure safeguarding is everyone’s priority and to make sure that Kent County Council is the best parent we can be for all of the children in our care and for our care leavers.

I will want to meet as many of you as possible and to hear whether we are doing the best we can for you. You will always be my highest priority in this job. I have over 33 years experience in Education and Children’s Services and this includes working in East Sussex, the United States of America, Australia and most recently Norfolk. I am a father to three children and grandfather to one. When I was growing up, my parents were foster carers to other children so I have some knowledge of what life was like for children in care from that time.

I really do look forward to getting out and about to meet with as many young people as possible – I want you to help me make Kent the best place of children and young people to grow up, learn, develop and achieve.

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Tony Doran

VSK Headteacher

What is your job role and what does this mean?

I head the Virtual School Kent which is responsible for promoting and improving educational standards for Children in Care and Young Care Leavers of Kent. I am responsible for the coordination of services provided by VSK such as:

Supporting key colleagues (Social workers, Foster carers, Designated Teachers, School Leaders, School Governors, IROs and your Corporate Parents) in understanding their roles and responsibilities in promoting your education and ensuring that they have the highest aspirations for you.

Providing information advice and guidance for you and for the key professionals who may work with you.

Ensuring effective systems are in place to offer extra support.

Ensuring you are at the centre of what we do and that we listen. We do this through our Participation & Engagement Team who run the activity days, children in care councils (Super Council, OCYPC and YAC) and Kent Cares Town website to name but a few specific activities.

How did you end up working in this job role?

I had been working in Educational Leadership for many years specialising in improving school culture and inclusion. This led to some consultancy opportunities which led to me being selected as an educational behaviour expert in the National Behavioural Review within the Prime Ministers Delivery Unit (PMDU) and subsequently the National Strategies. This experience of Central and Local Government work coupled with my passion for inclusion and working with disadvantaged groups of young people inspired me to search for and eventually secure the post of Virtual School Headteacher.

What is the best thing about your job?

That’s easy, it’s seeing the great outcomes achieved by the amazing young people that I serve. I especially look forward to days like the VSK Talent Showcase and the VSK Achievement Ceremonies in September and October.

Tell us one fact about you that young people might like to know?!

I was a Welsh International Athlete. Well athlete is pushing it…. I used to throw the Discus and Hammer for Wales.

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Nicola Anthony

Interim Head of Fostering and Registered Manager

What is your job role and what does this mean?

I am the Interim Head of Kent Fostering and Registered Manager. I directly line manage the centralised part of Kent Fostering which includes recruitment and assessment of foster carers. I am responsible for making the decision whether to approve new foster carers, including Connected Persons who have been assessed and presented to the Fostering Panel. I oversee the running of all Fostering Panels along with having overall management responsibility for the Specialist Fostering Team who cover Disability Fostering and the Sense of Belonging, along with the Fostering Review Team, Training and Development for foster carers and Initial Enquiries.

I work closely with the seven area Fostering Support Teams to promote joint working and support to foster carers, children and young people. The Fostering Support Teams supervise foster carers, match all referrals for children placements with appropriately skilled carers, promote training for carers and facilitate support groups.

How did you end up working in this job role?

I have worked with Kent Fostering Service for 19 years, initially as a Fostering Social Worker and then as Team Manager for Assessment and Support Teams. In the last couple of years I have been working alongside the Head of Fostering Caroline Smith, in the role of Practice Development Officer with a lead on Fostering. Caroline is currently covering the Assistant Director post for Corporate Parenting and I am covering for Caroline.

What is the best thing about your job?

I am passionate about this role as it oversees the fostering service to ensure that Kent Fostering recruit and supervise the very best foster carers to promote a safe and secure environment for children and young people in Kent.

Tell us one fact about you that young people might like to know?!

I love playing netball and have played for many teams since I was a teenager including Canterbury under 21s. I am a Goal Shooter and have played in the freezing rain and on the hottest of days.

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Caroline Smith

Interim Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting

What is your job role and what does this mean?

Hello, I am Caroline Smith, the Interim Assistant Director for Corporate Parenting. I am responsible for the services that support our Children in Care and Care Leavers including Kent Fostering Service, Adoption, VSK and 18plus Care Leavers. As a Corporate Parent I want the absolute best for our children and young people, ensuring they get the right support to achieve their full potential. I am very proud of the children and young people we work with and always value any feedback on our services about what we can do to support you.

How did you end up working in this job role?

I have worked for Kent County Council for 26 years, completing my training as a Social Worker and working with children and adults with disabilities, before working in the Fostering Service for 13 years. I am currently covering the Assistant Director role as wanted to be able to make a difference in the lives of as many children and young people as possible.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is seeing the achievements of children and young people within my services. I love the variety my job gives and the ability to create change with new ideas that will improve the lives of those I am a corporate parent too.

Tell us one fact about you that young people might like to know?!

If I won the lottery, I would buy a café on the beach, spending the day baking cakes and looking out at the sea.

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Paul Startup

Head of the Care Leavers 18 Plus Service

What is your job role and what does this mean?

I am Head of the Care Leavers 18 Plus Service. It means that I oversee 10 teams of workers who support around 1500 Care Leavers between the ages of 18 and 25.

How did you end up working in this job role?

I made a positive decision to apply for the post as I really wanted to do the job.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is working with the staff and the young people, being around people and trying to help them as best as I can.

Tell us one fact about you that young people might like to know?!

I run marathons and have a best time of 3 hours and 25 minutes which I am very proud of.

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