Chil­dren in care give their views on coun­cil’s ser­vice

Cynon Valley - - NEWS - AN­THONY LEWIS an­thony.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

CHiL­DREN in care say they want more con­tact with their fam­i­lies and that they don’t like it when their so­cial worker changes.

These were some of the find­ings of a sur­vey which asked young peo­ple aged 4-18 in the care sys­tem what they thought of the ser­vices the coun­cil pro­vides.

The Your Life, Your Care sur­vey was com­mis­sioned by Welsh Gov­ern­ment and car­ried out by Co­ram Voice and Bris­tol univer­sity in six Welsh lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

it was car­ried out in Fe­bru­ary this year and 146 young peo­ple from RCT par­tic­i­pated, a re­sponse rate of 36 per cent.

The sur­vey also found that 16 per cent of re­spon­dents felt they were not in­cluded in de­ci­sion mak­ing and a quar­ter of those aged 4-7 who re­sponded said they didn’t know who their so­cial worker was.

But all of those chil­dren and young peo­ple who re­sponded said they felt set­tled where they live.

Nearly 90 per cent of those who re­sponded said they felt safe in their place­ments and more young peo­ple in RCT (90 per cent) said they could do the same things as their friends com­pared to those in other Welsh coun­cil ar­eas (84 per cent).

Speak­ing at the lat­est chil­dren and young peo­ple scru­tiny com­mit­tee meet­ing, Coun­cil­lor Sheryl Evans asked what is be­ing done to place sib­lings to­gether as a quar­ter of the young peo­ple who took part in the sur­vey said they wanted more con­tact with their moth­ers and sib­lings.

The chil­dren’s ser­vices rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the meet­ing said they al­ways strive to place sib­lings to­gether if that is pos­si­ble.

Cllr Evans said it was not fair for sib­lings to be sep­a­rated as it is “men­tal cru­elty” and that the coun­cil needs to start ad­dress­ing that.

Coun­cil­lor Michael Pow­ell said some of the com­ments made by young peo­ple were “very heart touch­ing.”

He asked if the chil­dren’s ser­vices team would like to do this ev­ery year and they said they would as it pro­vides “very valu­able in­for­ma­tion” which makes it is very clear what they need to im­prove.

Cllr Pow­ell also raised con­cerns about the low rate of re­sponse but one of the chil­dren’s ser­vices team present said a 36 per cent re­sponse was “very good” for their de­part­ment.

Of those sur­veyed, 96 per cent said they could com­mu­ni­cate in their cho­sen lan­guage but Coun­cil­lor Heledd Fy­chan asked if there were lan­guages other than Welsh and English that young peo­ple in care spoke be­cause she said there are peo­ple from all dif­fer­ent back­grounds in RCT.

The chil­dren’s ser­vices rep­re­sen­ta­tive said they haven’t seen the data from Bris­tol univer­sity for this but that it is “very im­por­tant” to them and that “we need to make sure young peo­ple are happy to ex­press them­selves in what­ever way they choose.”

AC­TION FOR CHIL­DREN

Young peo­ple in the care sys­tem were asked what they thought of the ser­vices the coun­cil pro­vides

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