It is important that you are able to make your voice heard as you move into adulthood, whether this is as part of planning for your own future, in feeding back on your experiences of the support you have received, or is being part of a community of care leavers.
There are a number of ways we can help you with this.
Reach Out! is the name chosen by young people for the Children in Care Council in Slough. The name was decided upon as the young people felt it best described the purpose of the Children in Care Council:
- Trying to help children looked after and care leavers
- Reaching out for their future
- Reaching out for others in need
Reach Out! offers all of Slough’s children looked after and care leavers opportunities to get involved in different groups, forums and other activities to inform those of us providing services to you on what is working well and how services could be made better.
Reach Out! is made up of 3 groups:
- Reach Out! Juniors (aged 8-12) – monthly meetings
- Reach Out! Seniors (aged 13+) – monthly meetings
- Care Leavers Forum (aged 18+) – twice a year
Reach Out! provides you with opportunities to:
- Help other children and young people who are looked after or care leavers
- Talk openly about what it is like to be looked after
- Share ideas on how to make services better
- Help to improve the experiences of children looked after and care leavers
- Make new friends and have lots of fun with activities like bowling or wall climbing
The Reach Out! Young People’s Forum has been set up to ensure that there is a formal way for you to meet with senior leavers from the Joint Parenting Panel. The forum talks about what their top priorities are for making services better (Hot Topics) and shares ideas on how to could be done. The main role is to review what the Joint Parenting Panel is doing to ensure that children and young people are getting the support and services they need and deserve.
The scrutiny forum meets four times a year and offers another great opportunity to get involved and make a difference.
Being part of Reach Out! is not all about meetings! It also offers children and young people an opportunity to get involved in other fun activities, such as:
- Interviews – lots of different interview panels to recruit people who want to work for the Slough Children’s Services Trust e.g. social workers, independent reviewing officers, personal advisors or senior managers.
- National events – the opportunity for you to meet up with other children looked after and care leavers from across the UK at events like the National Young People’s Benchmarking forum and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Looked After Young People.
- Projects – the recent animation film weekends, children and young people spent two long weekends producing three animations to help answer some of the questions children and young people may have about being looked after.
- Consultations – you can get involved in different consultations with teams across children’s services where we need your expert advice on, for example, how to improve resources (booklets, leaflets) for new children and young people coming into care.
- Events – we have a number of events that take place such as holiday activity days run by the Virtual School and celebration events, or a care leavers Christmas lunch. There are opportunity to be involved in the planning of these events.
Reach Out! provides opportunities to learn new skills and meet up with children and young people in a similar situation. You don’t have to be involved in a Reach Out! forum to get involved in the extra activities, although being involved will also look great on your CV!
More information on Reach Out! is available here or by contacting the Trust’s participation officer bt phone, text or WhatsApp on 07776 461845.
The Joint Parenting Panel (JPP) acts on behalf of the council and key partners to ensure that all of the services with a responsibility to children looked after and care leavers are of a high standard.
The JPP helps facilitate a better understanding through scrutinising issues affecting children looked after and care leavers. It also supports the celebration of your achievements on an annual basis.
Complaints and compliments
We have a complaints/compliments leaflet, which tells you everything you need to know about how to make a complaint (or compliment) and who can help you with this. You should have been given a copy of the leaflet, but if you don’t have one, ask your social worker or personal advisor for one or download it here.
We want to make sure you are happy, so if you have any worries try and speak to your social worker or personal advisor first; but if you are still unhappy after this and have a complaint please contact:
Complaints Manager (Telephone: 01753 875825; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
We guarantee that we will listen to what you’ve said, look into it properly and respond to you in a reasonable timescale.
If at the end of all this you are unhappy with the result or the way your complaint was dealt with, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to look at your case. You can do this by:
Telephone: 0300 061 0614
Text ‘call back’: 0762 481 1595
- At any stage of the process, you can bring someone along to help and support your complaint (see information below on advocacy)
- We will listen to you and take your complaint seriously
- We will not blame you for making a complaint
- You will not get in trouble for telling us about your problem.
If you are under 18 and sometimes find it difficult to say what you want or would like someone to help represent your views, we can provide you with an advocate. The advocate is someone independent of the Trust who can help ensure that you are listened to and can come with you to meetings to help you get your views across.
More information is available on the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) website.