The hopes and dreams of looked after children and young people and care leavers in North Yorkshire are at the heart of a new strategy to ensure they have support when they need it and the best start in life.
Children and young people in care say that above all they want to be believed in, they want to be treated as an individual and to have people to support them who will have high aspirations for them and who will cheer them on through life’s journey.
The strategy, launched in Scarborough last week, is called “We care because you matter” and has been written with looked after children, care leavers and their guardians, carers and support staff. The county council will work with all district councils on the strategy in a joint role as corporate parents. It is being celebrated in a series of events across the county.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children and Young People’s Service, said “Our vision is that children in care and care leavers have the very best start in life with the same opportunities, support and outcomes as other children – we are committed to ensuring our duties towards them are carried out to the highest possible standards to meet individual needs. Our job is to walk in the shoes of the young people and families who use our services.”
The strategy outlines North Yorkshire County Council’s role as "corporate parents’" along with the county’s seven district councils. It also looks at how the councils together will deliver the seven corporate parenting principles set out by the Children and Social work act 2017. The act requires all councils to work in partnership to provide stability for children and young people in care.
The county council is known across the UK for good practice in its work with looked after young people, and was rated "outstanding" by Ofsted this summer. Through the strategy it will work with partners to turn pledges into action and to develop focused, practical support for children in care and care leavers.
The principles include children and young people in care having the necessary information and appointments and support to stay healthy; the opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests; to be listened to and to share quality time with adults; to see people important to them and to have the necessary help to achieve their goals.
Cllr Sanderson said: "We want children and young people in care to benefit from the services and support on offer in North Yorkshire, so we're working alongside our district colleagues and partners with a commitment to opening up access to the services and facilities they provide. This will include things like access to leisure centres and priority housing support.
"We also want to provide practical help at a local level for young people going into the world of work - our priorities for the next 12 months also include providing work experience opportunities and a guaranteed interview for care leavers with the minimum qualifications for an apprenticeship or graduate scheme.
"We will be working with many partners alongside our district council colleagues to deliver the principles of ‘We care because you matter’ including schools, the safeguarding board, foster carers and adopters, North Yorkshire Police, the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the youth justice service, to name but a few."
The strategy 'We care because you matter' is available at www.northyorksg.gov.uk/wecare