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Hands up for Care Day

Alison Noble: ADCS Elected Director and Director (Early help and Safeguarding), Derbyshire County Council

I write this blog with a heavy heart as it will be my last as an Elected Director of the ADCS Board of Directors, my three year tenure will come to an end in May 2024. When I was appointed, it was at the start of the pandemic and who would have known what was in store for all of us. Three years on so much has happened that has changed the landscape for children and the services we provide. The majority of children continue to thrive, have fun and achieve their best but it is incumbent on society to keep a close eye on our vulnerable children; the challenges they experience seem so much more intense in today’s modern world.

The invasion of social media and its tragic impact has been no more sharply referenced than in the recent tragic events in Warrington and my thoughts, sympathies and utmost respect go to the family who have demonstrated a strength most of us would find impossible to muster.

For young people today their lives revolve around their phones and their relationships grow in a very different way than they used to do. Social media can impact on relationships by decreasing the amount and quality of time spent together in person, people can feel upset with what they see or what, by those they believe are friends, are prepared to share. Authenticity is equally as important for healthy relationships between young people, as it is for those of us later in our lives. Relationships based on trust, understanding, support, honesty, equality, respect, communication and having fun together are those most impactful and positive for our futures.

Throughout my career relationship-based practice has been a focal point of how I work and what I value in other people’s practice. I wholeheartedly believe that in order to truly support and help others, people need to feel confident in the basis and reason for our engagement; true person-centred practice gives confidence and capacity for change. People can feel a sense of shared endeavour, of a ‘lift up’, with unconditional positive regard at a time of need.

Children in our care who grow up outside of a traditional family arrangement need to feel that sense of value, security, and purpose through their relationships in life. It’s our role to provide the support network for them and their parents and carers through solid person centred empathetic and respectful relationships. For many, these are identified as professional relationships.

Care Day on the 16th February is the world’s biggest celebration of children who grow up in out-of-home care and my word there is a lot for us to celebrate. Children in care, and those with care experience can be inspirational, entrepreneurial, innovative and spirited, we should cherish and value these characteristics and qualities to inspire current and future generations. I am hopeful that we are on the cusp of fundamental change and improvement in the system to enable all children to grow and develop, through improved funding and support in order to truly focus on cultivating the lives of all children in Britain today no matter their family circumstances and background. For children in care there needs to be a whole system and societal recognition of everyone’s responsibility to enable them to grow and inspire us. Please lend your support to Care Day today!

And finally, I would like to thank my ADCS colleagues, in particular the team which provide incredible support and professionalism to the organisation, enabling ADCS to achieve its long-term goals. Thank you to ADCS past and current members and Presidents for their help and encouragement to me and all the very best to Andy Smith who becomes ADCS President in April. I have had the privilege of working closely across local authorities with Andy in recent years and I am confident he will be an inspirational leader during his presidential year.

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