Our Improving Care Experiences team works with the people and professionals who in turn work directly with children who are looked after away from home - in foster, kinship, residential or secure care.
Knowing that these children have had a difficult time is not enough. To make significant change in the lives, the experiences of care, and the life chances for these children requires a multi-faceted approach. For our Improving Care Experiences team, this includes challenging stigma, and stereotypes that being brought up in care equals terrible experiences or being a 'bad' person.
There's a cost associated with children living in care away from home. But the cost of instability goes way beyond the financial, it has practical, emotional and societal implications for the young people too.
We support a deeper understanding of the necessity to adopt new approaches to improving the care journey of children and young people living away from home. Working hand-in-hand with our partners, we look to explore and bring down structural and systemic barriers, barriers which may attach ongoing stigma, or prevent care experienced young people from accessing services like health, education, housing or employment.
On a practical level, going into care can provide security and stability in a child's life, but may not tackle the long-term effects of trauma and neglect. Our multi-agency partnership work encourages a move away from temporary stop-gap care towards the development of carefully planned, long-term care. Care should provide stability and continuity from childhood and on into adult life.
Alongside the practical service improvement is the commitment to developing a deeper understanding of each child's emotional needs. This may include, for example, professional learning about the ongoing effect and impact of stigma. It could mean training in responding to a range of needs, so that frontline staff may offer appropriate responses to children and young people, and make sure that all children in care have the best life chances.
Our work is rooted in current research and evidence about the best ways of working, and developing relationships. Our work is designed to be truly collaborative, a mutual exploration of what barriers exist, and a collective effort to find solutions to lower those barriers.
We're working hand in hand with a wide range of partners including local authorities, the third sector, fostering and kinship organisations to develop new ways of thinking and working. We offer support through tailored training, professional learning and development, consultancy, team support and research.