Young Adult Council (YAC) is a group of young people aged over 16 who meet every month. This group was started at the beginning of 2015 and since then the membership has grown and grown. At these meetings, you can talk about things that matter to older children in care and young care leavers such as accommodation, life skills and further education. Decision makers at Kent County Council and in other organisations often come to YAC to ask for their advice and suggestions before making any changes or introducing new policies that affect children and young people in care or care leavers. It is your opportunity to have your say, be listened to and make a difference to the lives of children and young people in care!
YAC members also like to have fun. They regularly do activities, meet for meals or fundraise for charity.
We will pay your travel expenses if you come to a meeting and provide food. If you attend YAC regularly, you may be eligible for a free Young Person’s Railcard too!
Are you are interested in joining YAC? Or do you just want to have your say? Please email: contact us for further details.
Each year, members of the Young Adult Council decide on a series of aims to work towards. These projects cover a variety of topics important to children and young people in care and care leavers.
The Stigma Film
Together with the Apprentice Participation Workers, YAC contributed to a film that sets out to dispel the myths and stigma around children and young people in care and challenge negative stereotypes. It also highlights the need for professionals to have high aspirations for young people in care. The film is now being shared with professionals working in Kent County Council and people wishing to become foster carers. The film can be viewed above.
Life Hacks, Recipes and Tips
In October 2017, Centrepoint, a charity that supports young people at risk of homelessness, published the report, ‘Views from the frontline; what do young people need to move on from care successfully?’ After reading the key recommendations, YAC members wanted to highlight not only the challenges that young people face as they leave care but also the need for support and advice during the transition to independence. As part of this, they together with the Participation Team created a booklet, ‘Life Hacks, Recipes and Tips’. Full of simple recipes, handy hints and nifty tricks, some light hearted, some more serious, they hope that it proves a useful and enjoyable read for care leavers and those preparing to leave care in Kent.
Every year, YAC chooses a charity that means something to them to support. In 2017, they decided to raise funds for The Umbrella Centre, a mental health charity based in Canterbury. Members of the Young Adult Council and VSK Apprentices completed a virtual triathlon – running, walking, cycling and rowing from County Hall in Maidstone to Calais and back again!
The Role of the Participation and Engagement Team
The Participation Team’s role is to encourage all children in care and care leavers to speak up, voice their opinions and to help shape the services that they receive. They work hard to support children and young people to attend events, council meetings and sit on interview panels. This ensures that everything that Kent County Council does for young people in care and care leavers includes their views.
Alongside two Participation Support Officers and a Project Officer, we also have Apprentice Participation Workers within the Participation Team. They are undertaking an apprenticeship with Virtual School Kent and are here to help bridge the gap between you and the Kent County Council Members and Senior Directors. They are all young people who have been in care at some point or have had similar experiences. Their role involves supporting young people, encouraging them to speak up about their views and experiences, and discussing what they would like to change about the care system.
They organise the activity days for young adults that are run in the school holidays. The activity days are an opportunity to meet new friends, build confidence and have fun.
Find out more about who works in the Participation Team and what the team does here. Link to Participation Team leaflet
Go to the News section to find out more about what the Participation Team has been up to and read our newsletters!
If you would like to get involved, have ideas about events or activities that could take place, want to share your opinions about the care system or are interested in becoming an Apprentice Participation Worker, please contact us.