Cassie Takes Over the ADCS Blog

Cassie and Alison O'Sullivan on Takeover Day 2015
Cassie and Alison O’Sullivan on Takeover Day 2015

Hi I’m Cassie, one of around 600 children and young people in care living in Kirklees. I’m 17 years old and was asked to write this blog because I’m about to spend a day shadowing Alison O’Sullivan and Dave Hill, who are the president and vice president of the ADCS. Alison is also the Director for Children and Young People in the area where I live.

The chance to shadow Alison and Dave is part of the Takeover Challenge, which is a national event and means young people can get some experience of work. Last year more than 44,000 children and young people took part and more than 1,100 organisations were involved. We’ll be attending a big meeting in the Midlands.

It’s also a chance to talk with influential people about what it’s like to be in care and for me to share the views of other children and young people in care. So, to prepare for this, I met up with the Care Leavers Forum (CLF) and the Children in Care Council in Kirklees (which I am an active member of).

We talked about our priorities and the things we think could be done differently or better. I think it’s really important that our views are listened to because we want to share our experiences and work to improve the future for other young people in care, now and in the future.

The Children in Care Council (CICC) is a way that children and young people who are looked after by Kirklees Council can have a say about things that affect our lives. The Care Leavers Forum is also linked to New Belongings, which aims to make it easier for care leavers to go on and live independent lives. The issues that came up were interesting. When I talked to members of the CICC, they often felt risk assessments were too obsessive and strict and they felt that delegated responsibility hadn’t been used within their homes and therefore they were missing out on opportunities.

They also felt like they weren’t always listened to at their reviews, so the things they wanted to bring up weren’t brought up. When we talked about pupil premium, one young person knew what their pupil premium was spent on, one was unsure and one didn’t know it existed. They felt that they needed more support at school, especially the high achievers who said they went unrecognised.

The views from the CLF were that Kirklees had brilliant facilities but didn’t utilise these well enough by making sure young people had access, for example there are no free cards to the new leisure centre in Huddersfield.

Also, in a recent survey by New Belongings, it said that over half of young people over the age of 16 did not feel ready for independence. One big concern was being lonely, but there were other concerns about shopping, cooking and budgeting.

So these are the issues I’ll be talking about with Alison and Dave and it will be really interesting to hear their views – and just as important – share them with other kids just like me!

Thanks for reading!

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