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!
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This Summer has been action packed, full of fun activities and events for our young people!
On Tuesday 25th July, the Participation Team alongside the VSK Post 16 Team were delighted to welcome just over 150 young people and their guests, as well as senior KCC staff and elected members, to our annual Post 16 Awards Celebration.
We are delighted to advise that a new and exciting SEND youth forum has been set up for young people with SEND, where they can enjoy social time with others in similar situations, make friendships, play games and take part in fun activities. This new group will run in addition to our existing Young People’s Councils.
Despite there been only four days this May Half Term, it was still filled with fun activities and meetings for the Participation Team and all of our children and young people.
We started off the week with our adopted children at Lower Grange Farm near Maidstone, where we had a fun day filled with Pedal Carts, Foot Golf, Bushcraft and Climbing.
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
“I think it is really important that children in care have people to speak for them, to support them and to promote their interests.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
If I won the lottery, I would buy a café on the beach, spending the day baking cakes and looking out at the sea.
“The best thing about my job is seeing the great outcomes achieved by the amazing young people that I serve.”
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.
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.
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.
I was a Welsh International Athlete. Well athlete is pushing it…. I used to throw the Discus and Hammer for Wales.
“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.”
I am the Head of Fostering (East) which means that I am responsible for the Fostering Assessment Team 1, the three fostering support teams (East 1, 2 and South), and the Fostering Review Team who between them recruit, train, assess, supervise, and support foster carers for our children and young people in care.
My role also includes making decisions about whether to approve foster carers, continue their approval and make changes to their approval. I work closely with Mark Vening, Head of Fostering West and alongside our colleagues in the children’s social work and children in care teams.
I have worked with children and young people for as long as I can remember in both paid and voluntary capacities and worked within the council since 1997 in the areas of mental health, children and families, adoption, fostering, and Kent Supported Homes. I was appointed and began my role as Head of Fostering (East) on 1st September 2022 following ten years working in the fostering service, a service which I love and am immensely proud to be a part of.
I believe that by finding the right fostering families for our children and young people or host families for our older young people and care leavers, for however long they need them, children and young people can be helped to feel safe and secure, recover and achieve their potential.
I love going along to the fantastic events that we put on as a service such as the Foster Carer Awards Ceremony, my teams’ Summer, Christmas, Easter (to name but a few) get togethers for Children in Care and their fostering families and without a doubt the VSK Participation Events. I love talking with our children, young people, carers, and colleagues, celebrating achievements, and looking at where and how we might be able to contribute to improvements.
I can ballet and tap dance, salsa and ceroc – I love music and dancing!