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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.

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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!

primary portal

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.

secondary portal

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.

moving on portal

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!

Participation and Well-being in Residential Care Survey

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Are you living in or having recently lived in a children’s home or semi-independent accommodation?

Are you between 14 and 21 years old?

We invite you to fill out this online survey.

 

Countywide Children in Care Council

Collage of pictures from the meeting. Tables with flyers and pencils, children writing and drawing.

This year, we opened our summer holiday activities with the Countywide Children in Care Council meeting, which took place on Tuesday 26th of July.

Reconnect Hackathon Blog

Title of Reconnect Hackathon. An illustration of a girl with her brain exposed.

The Hackathon Event 2022 was funded and supported by the Reconnect Programme. Reconnect is a one-year scheme that was introduced by Kent County Council to help reverse the effects of COVID and self-isolation, especially in young people.

Summer Reading Challenge 2022

Summer Reading Challenge 2022. Gadgeteers. Presented by The Reading Agency. Delivered in partnership with libraries.

Throughout the summer holidays, all children and young people from ages 4-11 years old can take part in the Summer Reading Challenge 2022, which runs from 9th of July until 10th of September.

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

Photo of Sarah Hammond

Sarah Hammond

Interim Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education

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Roger Gough

Leader of the 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.”

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Dirk Ross

Chairman of Corporate Parenting Panel.

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Stuart Collins

Director Integrated Services (Early Help and Preventative Services Lead)

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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.”

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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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Tony Doran

VSK Headteacher

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

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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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Maria Cordrey

Head of Fostering – East

“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.”

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Maria Cordrey

Head of Fostering – East

What is your job role and what does this mean?

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.

How did you end up working in this job role?

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.

What is the best thing about your job?

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.

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

I can ballet and tap dance, salsa and ceroc – I love music and dancing!

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Nimesh Patel

Head of Care Leavers 18+ Service

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Mark Weinel

Head of Care Leavers 18+ Service

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Mark Vening

Head of Fostering – West

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Sue Chandler

Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services

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Shellina Prendergast

Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

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Danielle Babin

Service Manager- North Kent Children in Care Team

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Paul Meggitt

Service Manager – West Kent Children in Care Team

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Rebecca Ransley

Service Manager – South Kent Children in Care Team

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Anne Nerva

Service Manager – East Kent Children in Care Team

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