Get Involved and Make a Difference

What is the Super Council?

The Super Council is a group for children in care between the ages of 7 and 11. It is a chance to talk about some of the issues that affect Children In Care in Kent.

Important people at Kent County Council and other organisations often come to speak to the Super Council to find out what they think about any new ideas or before changes happen. This is a way for you to have your say, be listened to and make a difference to the lives of other Children In Care.

The Super Council also like to play lots of fun games as well as do arts and crafts or other activities, such as go bowling. It’s also a great place to make new friends! There are snacks and drinks provided at each meeting.

These meetings take place during the school holidays and last about two hours.

Are you are interested in joining the Super Council? Or do you just want to have your say? Click here to send us a message.

What are Challenge Cards?

What are Challenge Cards?

In February 2015, after talking to children and care leavers, the VSK Participation Team created Challenge Cards. Children and young people in care can write down things they think Kent County Council should be doing better for them and other children like them. They are a way for you to have your voice heard by your corporate parents and the decision makers at the council.

Click here to download a Challenge Card or complete one online.

How can I make a Challenge?

Any child or young person in care can send in a Challenge. You can:

  • Bring it to a Super Council meeting
  • Email
  • Post it to VSK, Worrall House, 19 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4AE
  • Give it your Social Worker who will pass it to the VSK Participation Team
  • Complete a Challenge Card online

Don’t worry if you don’t have a copy of the Challenge Card itself, use a normal piece of paper instead!

What happens next?

The Challenge is taken to one of the Children in Care Councils where it is talked about. Challenges should be about issues that affect lots of Children In Care. If the council thinks that the challenge is a personal issue for you, the Participation Team will send it to someone who can help you, like your Social Worker. If the Challenge is agreed by the Council, it is discussed at the Children In Care Managers’ Meeting. It is the people at this meeting who must decide on actions to meet the Challenge. They must update the Children in Care Councils about what they will do. The progress of the challenge is also reported to the Corporate Parenting Panel.

You Said, We Did

Challenge: You Said…

Social Workers should have business cards they can give the young people they work with. These should have their contact details on them. Young people should be involved in designing them.

We Did…

The VSK Participation Team ran a competition to design the business card. The chosen design was made into a business card for Social Workers to fill out and give to their young people. Ask your Social Worker if you do not have theirs!

Challenge: You Said…

Children In Care should be able to see their brothers and sisters who live with their parents or live in another placement more often. They should be able to meet in a safe place and not with the rest of their family.

We Did…

Independent Reviewing Officers now make sure that you are asked about seeing your brothers and sisters at your Review Meetings.

Challenge: You Said…

Children In Care should never be given black bin bags to put their things in when they move placement or move to live independently. All young people should be given a suitcase or another bag to use.

We Did…

There is a policy (a set of official rules) in place that says bin bags should not be used but this was reviewed (looked at again) and shared with more people including foster carers. Foster carers will also be told about the policy when they are having training.

Challenge: You Said…

When a young person over school leaving age decides they want to rent a flat or house, the Council should act as a rent guarantor.

This means the Council would promise to pay your rent if you can’t. Often, you need a rent guarantor to rent a private property.

We Did…

Kent County Council is committed to setting up a guarantor scheme to help young people find independent accommodation. A pilot scheme (this is where the idea is tested on a smaller group) is being completed first.

What is the role of the Participation 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 change the services that they receive. They work hard to support children and young people to come to events and council meetings and help organise the Children in Care Councils. This means that everything that Kent County Council does for Children In Care includes their views.

Alongside two Participation Support Officers and a Project Officer, there are Apprentice Participation Workers within the Participation Team. They are undertaking training with Virtual School Kent and are here to be a link between you and the people who make important decisions in Kent County Council. They are all young people who have been in care at some point. Their role involves supporting children, encouraging them to speak up about their views and experiences, and talking about what they would like to change about the care system.

They organise the activity days that are run in the school holidays. The activity days are an opportunity to meet new friends, build confidence and have fun.

Click here to download more information.

Who’s Who in the Participation Team