Agenda item

Corporate Parenting Challenge Cards


1.            Mr Doran introduced the report and said what a great initiative the challenge card process had proved to be and that it was an excellent example of a good process developed by young people to publicise and address issues raised by other young people in care. He added that the Young Lives Foundation was shortly to become involved in the development of the challenge card process, to help address the issues raised.      


2.            He emphasised that the County Council had a policy of black sacks not being used at all when young people moved between placements, and aimed to see that all foster carers provided proper and appropriate luggage to be used on these occasions. This principal was included in the Foster Carers’ Handbook and in Foster Carer Skills training, at which the importance of it would always be stressed.  He said the complaint which gave rise to the challenge card may have related to one or two isolated incidents. However, there would need to be a way of dealing with complaints in cases where the policy was not being properly applied.  He responded to comments and questions from the Panel, including the following:-


a)    black sacks could have been used to pack belongings for a variety of reasons, for instance if there were too much to fit into conventional luggage or boxes and black sacks had been used to pack the surplus. Although black sacks might prove convenient for this purpose, their use was not appropriate as they gave the impression of homelessness and that a young person’s possessions were not being valued or respected.  He said he would seek to ensure that common sense was applied when helping any young person to pack up to move;


b)    asked who was expected to provide luggage, and if it might prove prohibitively expensive for foster carers hosting temporary placements to keep buying or lending luggage, when young people moved in and out frequently,  Mr Doran clarified that a child or young person should own their own luggage and should not have to borrow it each time they moved.  Foster carers should ensure that children and young people in their care were provide with adequate and suitable luggage;


c)    a foster carer pointed out that luggage could be bought inexpensively. Most young people either arrived with their own luggage or had it bought for them by their foster carers. The use of black sacks was something not heard about for years and was hopefully very rare. However, it was an important point which needed to be addressed; and


d)    other speakers expressed surprise that black sacks were still used as foster carers would receive notice that a young person was to move and would have time to organise in advance for their packing to be done properly.  It was important that all belongings were packed in suitable containers to avoid damage in transit.

3.            Ms Hammond added that the reported use of black sacks may have been associated with care leavers moving into independent or semi-independent accommodation and that foster carers may not be to blame. However, the principal of taking care and showing respect for someone’s belongings still applied.


4.            It was RESOLVED that the progress made to date on challenge card issues and the information given in response to comments and questions be noted, with thanks.      

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