Agenda item

Update on Mind Of My Own App for Children in Care and Care Leavers

Minutes:

1.    Caroline Smith (Interim Assistant Director, Corporate Parenting) provided the Panel with an update on the delivery and implementation of the Mind Of My Own (MOMO) app and web-based application tool which had been designed to help young people to share their thoughts and feelings with professionals they worked with, whether this be Social Workers, Teachers or Independent Reviewing Officers. Training for professionals, facilitated by MOMO, took place across several dates in September and October and the results of the training saw an increase of usage in Kent; Ms Smith referred the Panel to the case examples within the report.

 

2.    Jo Carpenter (School Bursar and Project Officer, Virtual School Kent) assured the Panel that MOMO was not viewed as an alternative to any statutory requirements but rather another method of engaging children and young people and enhancing the professionals who worked with them. Since May 2018, usage had doubled within Kent, with 244 workers using MOMO and 280 young people having accounts, however, the next step was to work in coalition with other services to promote MOMO and further increase its usage.

 

(a)  The Panel asked whether Foster Carers encouraged children to use MOMO. Ms Carpenter said that Foster Carers were apprehensive as they did not understand how the tool would be used, although the feedback since the implementation and training of MOMO had been positive. The MOMO app started to be recognised as a useful tool for young people as it gave them instant access to their professionals and also allowed them to choose who they wanted to send their message to.

 

(b)  In response to why the demographics reveal greater usage from females compared to males, Tom Byrne (Participation Support Assistant, Virtual School Kent) said that he did not feel that this was due to the accessibility of the app, it was a larger social issue that was inherent within the male demographic as they did not share their concerns as openly as the female society would. In addition, Matt Dunkley (Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education) said that this was a management concern and the Directorate needed to look at alternative routes for the male users to ensure all voices were being heard.

 

(c)   Ms Carpenter said that feedback from the professionals identified MOMO’s limitations, one of which was that the app did not have the facility of translation. This issue was fed back to MOMO and work was being done to rectify the problem.

 

(d)  The other limitation noted from the feedback was that MOMO did not have the facility for the worker to respond directly to the young person; the Professional would need to respond via an alternative method such as text message or email. Work was being done to look at whether a Kent County Council version of MOMO could be produced, however, this would need to be supported by external software which would require substantial IT infrastructure investment.

 

3.    It was RESOLVED that the progress of the roll-out of Mind Of My Own (MOMO) be noted.

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