The Participation Team’s purpose is to ensure that young people in care, young care leavers, young people who were previously looked after, the sons and daughters of foster carers and other young people, such as those who have had social worker involvement, have meaningful opportunities to have their voices heard and influence the design and delivery of services within VSK, Integrated Children’s Services and Kent County Council more widely.
They do this in many ways; the most important of which is facilitating young people’s council groups. The Participation Team supports:
- Three Children in Care Councils (the Young Adult Council for those aged 16+, Our Children and Young People’s Council for 11 – 16-year-olds and the Super Council for 7 – 11-year-olds)
- The Adoptables for Adopted Children aged 12 – 18 living in the London Borough of Bexley, Kent and Medway
- The Children WHO Care group for the sons and daughters of foster carers.
The team runs focus groups and workshops, fun activities and large events and offers 1-1 buddying support for young people. Members of the team also facilitate training for KCC staff members, local university students and other professionals to help ensure that young people’s perspectives and experiences are shared more widely and are making a real difference to the services they receive.
To support this work, the Participation Team employs a large number of Apprentice Participation Workers, the majority of whom have had experience of care, adoption and fostering, and who are now keen to share their experiences to help make positive changes for other young people.