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ENTITLEMENTS INQUIRY Action pack for professionals working with groups of looked-after children and care leavers. www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk/appg.

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Presentation on theme: "ENTITLEMENTS INQUIRY Action pack for professionals working with groups of looked-after children and care leavers. www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk/appg."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENTITLEMENTS INQUIRY Action pack for professionals working with groups of looked-after children and care leavers.

2 Contents Foreword by Craig Whittaker MP Why have an Inquiry? Taking part in the Inquiry Fill in the survey Run a session locally Invite us round for a chat Get to know your MP Your Toolkit

3 Foreword We all know that looked-after children and care leavers deserve the very best support from all of us. Over the last ten years MPs from all parties have supported changes to the law which aimed to improve the lives of these children and young people. However, we hear too often about children and young people who do not know about certain rights and entitlements that these laws created. As Chair of the APPG I want parliamentarians to understand whether the laws that exist are making a difference and, if they aren’t, where the problems are. That is why we have set up this Inquiry to ask children and young people across England about the rights and entitlements they should receive. You will find lots of information about how to take part in this pack and I hope that you and the children you work with will join us in this important Inquiry. Craig Whittaker MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked-After Children and Care Leavers Lord Listowel, Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked-After Children and Care Leavers

4 Why have an Inquiry? We want to: Give MPs a clear understanding of the gap between legislation and practice with regards to entitlements which are important to looked-after children and care leavers. Give looked-after children and care leavers the opportunity to directly contribute to the political process. Provide the APPG with evidence needed to lobby for improvements in support for looked-after children and care leavers. Provide looked-after children and care leavers with information about their rights and entitlements. There have been a number of inquiries looking at the role of the care system and the new legislation or reforms which are needed to improve outcomes for looked- after children and care leavers. However, one of the consistent themes from young people attending the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked-After Children and Care Leavers is that they do not know about or receive those things which they are already entitled to. The APPG officers want to know more about how widespread this problem is, what looked-after children and care leavers are missing out on and the reasons why they are not receiving what they are entitled to.

5 What will happen to our responses? We will: Keep responses anonymous if you wish Clearly reference who responded, if you want us to share that information Promote best practice where we are told about as often as we can The issue of rights and entitlements can be a tricky one to discuss. We recognise that it may create difficult situations if young people aren’t receiving what they should be. We want to encourage people to tell us the truth – good and bad. Are promises about how we will do that are in the next box. We are clear that the Inquiry should help to raise awareness among young people of their rights. To help achieve this, we will share information for young people about their rights and what they can do if they are not receiving them.

6 Taking part in the Inquiry The Entitlements Inquiry will be taking evidence from 17 th April 2013 until 17 th August We want to hear from looked- after children and care leavers and the professionals who work with them. The rest of this pack contains four different ways that you and the young people you work with can get involved in the Inquiry. If you have any questions about the Inquiry you can contact Jack Smith, Clerk of the APPG, on If you have any questions about the Inquiry you can contact Jack Smith, Clerk of the APPG, on carestrust.org.uk. carestrust.org.uk You can find updates on the Entitlements Inquiry on the dedicated section of our website: thewhocarestrust.org.uk/appg

7 Fill in the survey We will analyse the results of the survey and use the information in the final report. We want to get as many people as possible to complete the survey so we get a good understanding of what is happening across the country. We will be running an online survey for: Looked-after children Care leavers between 16 and 25 Care leavers older than 25 Professionals who work in the care system The survey will be open from 17 th April until 17 th August 2013.

8 Run a session locally We want Children in Care Councils and other participation groups across the country to discuss the issue of rights and entitlements and let us know what they think. Short descriptions of the session packs are included in the “Your Toolkit” section at the end of this pack. The packs will be avialable to download from the end of May We have put together some potential session packs and we’d like you to run the sessions and send us the results.

9 Invite us round for a chat We want to hear first-hand the conversations which are going on across the country. Unfortunately can only make a limited number of meetings and willtry and plan these around availability and to ensure we get a good cross-section of groups from across the country. If you’d like to invite the Inquiry to your meeting then please contact the Jack Smith on: Why not invite us to your meeting? We could: Bring an officer from the APPG (an MP or member of the House of Lords) Bring some young people from a different area. Bring a worker from The Who Cares? Trust to take part in the session.

10 Get to know your MP We’ll be telling MPs about what we find, but you could go straight to them yourself. This can have a really big impact. There are 650 MPs in the country. You can find out who yours is here: s-lords-and-offices/ Type your postcode into a box a find out who represents you in Parliament Why not: Visit a surgery so you can tell them the issues you talked about at your session Write them a letter telling them what you think is important – there’s some ideas at the back of the pack Invite them to an event or meeting Tweet them – loads of MPs are on Twitter and it’s a good way to get a powerful, short point across

11 YOUR TOOLKIT

12 Session packs Entitlements for looked-after children This pack looks in detail at the five key entitlements for looked-after children and is designed for work with young people from who are in care. Entitlements for looked-after children – younger children This pack looks in detail at the five key entitlements for looked-after children and is designed for children aged 8-12 Entitlements for care leavers This pack looks in detail at the five key entitlements for care leavers aged Your rights and entitlements This pack looks in general about how looked-after children and care leavers find out about their rights and entitlements and what they think the barriers are to knowing what should happen for them. The Who Cares? Trust have developed these session packs to help groups of looked-after children and care leavers to contribute to the Entitlements Inquiry. We encourage anyone who runs a group with looked-after children and care leavers to take part.

13 Useful websites to find background information Parliament - Everything you need to know about who’s who in Parliament and what happens there The education tab has resources and games Entitlements Inquiry - rg.uk/pages/entitlements- inquiry-2013.html All the information about the Inquiry, including downloadable packs, surveys and background information. rg.uk/pages/entitlements- inquiry-2013.html Department for Education - The Government department with responsibility for the care system Search for consultations for the latest documents asking for views Children’s Commissioners For England - er.gov.uk/ er.gov.uk/ For Wales – For Scotland Children’s Rights Director – Has young people’s guides and reports on the views of other young people in care

14 Writing to your MP – the basics MPs can only deal with people who live in their constituency. So check who your’s here: mps-lords-and- offices/ Make sure your letter includes your name and address so they know you live in their constituency. Make it personal Letters to MPs work really well when you ask for something specific – whether that’s a tour of Parliament or to raise a question with the Government. Remember to give them something in return – telling them what you think or share some work you’ve done Find your local MP MPs can get hundreds of letters and s every week, so make sure yours stands out. Use examples from your area and things which you think are important It might seem old- fashioned, but with so many s every day, writing a letter might work best. Ask for something

15 Struggling to get started? [The name of your MP] House of Commons London SW1A 0AA Dear [name of your MP] There are around 88,000 looked-after children in the United Kingdom. They need to be looked-after by local authorities for a wide range of reasons, but they all have some things in common. The law says that there are certain things that all looked-after children and care leavers should get. Not all looked-after children and care leavers get this support. A group of looked-after children in [your area] meet to try and change the care system. We are known as [name of your children in care council]. We wanted to [tell you/ask you] about [your event/questions/ideas]. We are also taking part in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked- After Children and Care Leavers Inquiry into entitlements. If you are interested in knowing more about looked-after children in [your area] you could [come to meet you/visit your local authority/go to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked-After Children and Care Leavers]. Yours sincerely, [Your name] Don’t know where to start? Why not use our template letter as a starting point. Don’t forget that letters work best if your own ideas are in them. So fill in the [purple boxes] with things that matter to you.


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