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Tameside Pledge to Children and Young People in Care


What is the pledge?

The Tameside Pledge is our commitment to children and young people in our care. When a looked after child is taken to care, that means that leaders and officers in the council become their corporate parents. That means we need to care and advocate for them as if they were our own children.

This Pledge sets out the promises we will keep regarding the welfare, safety and success of our looked after children and young people while they are in our care. The Pledge was developed with our Children in Care Council, 2BeUs, who represent all children looked after in Tameside.

You can access the Pledge here.
 

What have we done so far?

Since the Pledge was developed in 2016, we have responded to this commitment in various sorts of ways – below outlines what young people have told us they want to see and what we have done to fulfil our commitment based on the Pledge.

Young people told us:
  • Suppliers, payments and choice of spending is an issue in relation to receiving the leaving care grant
  • Council tax exemption up to the age of 25 would benefit as most care leavers pay the bills themselves and struggle to do so.
  • Young people want to see more permanent social workers in our workforce
  • They also want to social workers to tell them, their carers and the school that they go to if they are leaving. It’s hard for them to hear that their worker has left and it makes it harder to build a relationship with a new one.
  • Young people want to be able to live on their own but would benefit from learning some skills first
  • Young people want upsetting decisions made about their life to be explained to them by social workers
  • Young people want access to work experience in the council so they can secure a job further down the line
  • Young people want to be matched with their foster carers
  • They want to be able to get in touch with their allocated worker easily


What have we done?

Regarding our staff, we currently have a rolling recruitment programme for permanent social workers. We’re using different sites as well as social media to advertise for fresh, experienced social workers to join the service. To further support this, we are linking in with higher education institutes in the region as part of the Greater Manchester Teaching Partnership arrangement. This means committing to creating social work placements and in the long term attracting more recruits.

Social workers each have a direct number so that when a young person wants to get in touch they can do. Failing that our business support teams can pick up if the worker is busy. When staff do leave the authority, they are required to make contact with their relevant young person to tell them about it.

We now have a full team of Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) who are permanent and although there have been some changes in the past, they are settled and able to build good relationships with young people.

When young people aren’t happy about something they have experienced with the service, they have the opportunity to attend team meetings to be able to discuss with workers what would improve practice for them.

We have also have an ongoing programme of work to match young people with carers. This includes ‘matching panels’ for better decision-making.
 

Finances:

When it comes to access grants for young people, we realise that the systems and process in place for a young person to access it were too fragmented and slow. As a result, Leaving Care now has a credit card with flexibility on payments. Furthermore, we have extended the age range for council tax exemption to give young people leaving our care extra space to get themselves in a comfortable position financially before they are required to pay council tax.
 

Independence:

We have created a programme of Independence Skills workshops for young people. They run three times per year and covering a range of skills, advice and information about preparing for adult life. They are provided by a number of professionals from across children’s services and are available to all our young people leaving care who want to attend.

We have also committed to creating work experience placements as well as at least five ringfenced apprenticeships for young people leaving care to give young people the opportunity to get a foot in the door with us or in their desired career.
 
 
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