Views and Opinions Inspire Change for Everyone (VOICE) - Telford & Wrekin's Children in Care Council
Listening to your views is very important to us and you can express your views on being in care by joining VOICE, Telford & Wrekin Council's Care Council!
What is VOICE?
VOICE was the name chosen by Telford & Wrekin Council's Care Council members which has been meeting regularly since November 2008. The word 'VOICE' is short form of the group's full name which is 'Views and Opinions Inspire Change for Everyone'.
VOICE is a fortnightly forum where young people who are in care discuss important issues with senior managers at the council with the aim of helping to shape and improve services. It has a core group of 12 members, attracting a regular attendance of between 8 - 12 young people at each meeting.
The Care Council meets regularly every two weeks, term-time, and meets as a full Care Council with the Director of Children's Services (DCS) and lead member for children and young people once every 3 months. The young people elect their own Chair and Vice-Chair, who serve for one year. In addition young people also take it in turns to undertake the following:
- represent the Care Council at regional and national care council events
- represent the Care Council at any other events that require care council involvement
- support with Hot Shots and National Takeover Day
- sit on recruitment and selection panels alongside other young people.
Why have a Children in Care Council?
Every Local Authority should have a Children in Care Council. In Telford & Wrekin we think what you say really matters and that's why VOICE is really important. We want to know what you think about being in care, and how you think we could make things better for you. You have the right to have your say about how you think Children's Services should be run and about how things could be changed for the better.
How to get involved?
If you'd like to become a member of VOICE, we'd love to hear from you! You can email our Rights and Representations Officers at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org or you can telephone 01952 385112. If you don't want to come along to the meetings, you can have your say via email or by contacting your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) to ask that they pass your thoughts on.
Leavers come first
Leavers come first is the name of Telford and Wrekin's care leavers forum.
The group is open to care experienced young people between the ages of 17 and 25.
The aim of the group is to improve the services care leavers receive from Telford and Wrekin Council, and to help make what may be a difficult transition from care to independence a better experience for all young people.
The group usually meets every other month.
Members of leavers come first have the opportunity to get involved in loads of things such as; training foster carers, attending meetings with social work managers and improving local services and organisations.
Refreshments are provided at each meeting if you, or someone you know would like to get involved simply email email@example.com and we will send you all the details.
If you would rather speak to someone about joining either of these groups, you can phone the Leaving Care team on 01952 385817.
Improving services - tell us how we are doing
Telford and Wrekin have signed up to the Bright Spots programme, developed by Coram VOICE with the University of Bristol, which aims to improve the well-being of children and young people in care by identifying and encouraging practices that have a positive influence on them. There are two surveys included in the programme:
The Your Life, Your Care survey is a tool for measuring the quality of looked-after children's care experience and their sense of well-being. The survey was developed with children and young people in recognition that they are experts on their own experience.
The new Bright Spots survey, Your Life Beyond Care, focuses on the thoughts, feelings and experiences of care leavers. It has been developed using the same rigorous methodology as the Your Life, Your Care surveys for younger children, drawing on research and focus groups with care-experienced young people.
Each year VOICE and Leavers Come First will be sending out information to all young people in care in Telford and Wrekin to share the outcomes of these surveys and are keen to discover what matters to you, what you think needs improving or what needs to start happening.
We will use this information to see what young people in care think are the top 10 priorities that need working on. This will then be taken to senior members of the council to see what can be done to make things better.
Last updated: 9.32am on Friday 14 June 2019