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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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*COVID UPDATE 2021*

During this third national Lockdown, the VSK Participation Team is here to support you and help you stay positive! Click on the links below to find some Top Tips and Boredom Busters. You can also email us at VSK_Participation@kent.gov.uk or use the website to stay in touch — we love to hear from you!

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.

  Many thanks to all of you who completed the 2020 18+ Care Leavers Service, we had a fantastic response and look forward to receiving the results. Once we have had chance to reflect on the results, we will share our actions.
If you wish to share any further views, you can email us at 18+yourvoice@kent.gov.uk

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!

Thinking of applying to university as a care leaver?

University Students throwing hats in the air in celebration

Are you a care leaver in need of advice and insight about how to get into University? Take a look at this!

Have your say on the Care Leavers 18+ Service

A young man using a tablet computer sat next to a young woman using a laptop computer.

Our Young Adult Council wants to hear your views about the services the 18 Plus Care Leavers Service provides. 

Accessing Computers and Internet at KCC Libraries

Kent County Council Library

To support you with your education, we want to let you know that KCC has now opened 12 libraries for bookshelf browsing and borrowing, pre-bookable computers and WiFi sessions.

 

Civil Service Care Leaver Internship

Civil Service Care Leaver Internship

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme is reopening for applications on 7th 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

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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.”

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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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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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Ann Allen MBE

Chairman 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.”

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Ann Allen MBE

Deputy Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education and Chair of the Corporate Parenting Panel

Ann Allen was elected to Kent County Council in 1997 as the Conservative member for Dartford South West, now Wilmington.

What is your job role and what does that mean?

I am the Chairman of the County Council’s Corporate Parenting Panel (CPP), and of the Children’s Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee. I am also a Deputy Cabinet Member. I am responsible for seeing that the agendas of these two committees cover the issues that Members most need to look at – adoption, fostering, Virtual School Kent (VSK) etc - anything which impacts upon the lives of children in the care of the County Council.

What are the duties of Corporate Parenting Panel?

I see corporate parents as being a bridge between the County Council and children and young people in care. I have ensured that young people serve on the Panel, and I see them and their involvement as an asset as they tell it like it is. Also, the foster carers on the Panel are a very valuable resource as they bring their insight and we see their view of the bureaucracy that sometimes comes into our processes. They are advocates for young people.

How should elected Members fulfil their corporate parenting role? What should they be doing?

They do the best they can with their ability and with their awareness, but they could do more. The question is how can they do that? They need to keep engaging with young people. They all signed the County Council’s Pledge to its children in care…We need to ask ourselves ‘what is a good parent?’ and do the same as corporate parents as we would for our own children. Young people are in care because of what has been done to them, not because of anything they have done.

Tell us one fact about yourself that young people might not know.

I used to be a foster carer, so I have a personal knowledge and experience of the subject. Over the years I cared for 20 – 30 children and have foster granddaughters of 25 and 9.

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Sarah Hammond

Director Integrated Services (Children's Social Work Lead)

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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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Nicola Anthony

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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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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Nimesh Patel

Head of the Care Leavers 18 Plus 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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Nimesh Patel

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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Mark Vening

Head of Fostering – West

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Sue Chandler

Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services

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Richard Long

Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

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