The Fostering Network has launched a new programme of work aimed to enable more young people in care to get their voices heard, and to increase their involvement in shaping services that affect them.
Inspiring Voices is a project designed to raise young people’s and foster carers’ awareness of, and engagement with, children in care councils. It will work with six local authorities and children’s services to strengthen the voice of young people and to encourage a broader range of young people with care experience to shape the design and delivery of services which impact on their lives. It is funded by the Department for Education until the end of March 2016.
We will recruit and train 24 care leavers aged 18-25 to be young ambassadors, who will catalyse change locally and nationally by providing near-peer (people who have had similar experiences in the recent past) support. The ambassadors will seek the views of young people in care, and encourage young people to engage with opportunities to influence services that impact them. They will be supported by a Foster Carer Champion in each authority, who will work with other foster carers to raise awareness of the opportunities available for young people to participate locally. The project will work six local authorities and children’s services: Derbyshire, Dudley, Hartlepool, Herefordshire and Stockton-on-Tees, and Doncaster Children's Services Trust.
Lisa Belletty, Programmes Manager, said: “As a charity, The Fostering Network believes that young people should be heard, and we’re extremely excited about the potential of this project to enable more young people than ever to get involved in developing their local services.
“With the learning from this project, The Fostering Network will establish a national virtual children in care council in spring 2016. This will ensure that the learning and experience that we gain from Inspiring Voices can sustainably support children and young people right across the UK.”
You can find out more about Inspiring Voices on The Fostering Network’s website.