Our Ambassadors make sure children's voices are heard

Published
07.10.2021

We seek to include children and young people in their assessments, plans and reviews and make sure that children and young people’s voices are included, heard and listened to in all parts of the service and in practice.

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This doesn’t just include children and young people who are currently receiving a service; it also includes children and young people who have previously had experience of and involvement with children’s services.

We employ 15 Ambassadors who are young people who have had experience of having  a Child in Need Plan, Child Protection Plan, had support from the disability teams or Early Help, and have either been or are in our care, or are the children of foster carers.

Our Ambassadors provide us with support, challenge and quality assurance in relation to our policies, procedures, practice and improvement journey.  They are also the voice for children and young people that cut across children’s services and in our delivery of services to children at every level.

Some of the ways Ambassadors are involved in Gloucestershire

  • At a strategic level - as mentors to senior managers, presenting and responding to our Improvement Board, at the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee, Virtual School Management Group and Corporate Parenting Group.

  • Ambassadors are part of our recruitment on interview panels for posts at all levels (including Directors), they deliver training and inductions for student social workers, newly qualified workers and new members of staff, they work closely with the Social Work Academy and input into essential training, facilitate Mind of My Own App training and talk to Foster Carer Support Groups.

  • Ambassadors are supporting Children’s Services to think about the language that we use when we talk about and talk to children and young people as well as what we write in children’s records about our work with children and young people. This initiative is called ‘Language that Cares’ and you can find out more about this below.

 

 

This is what one of our Ambassadors, Em says about working with Gloucestershire Children’s Services.

Hi I'm Em, I'm 19 and I've been an Ambassador for almost 4 years now.

Being an Ambassador is incredibly rewarding. No working day is the same and the amount of projects we are involved in really make it worthwhile.

I have been involved with many different projects as an Ambassador. I have been involved with mind of my own training, delivered training to lots of professionals including health professionals and social workers. We have promoted the Mind of My Own App has meant young people have accessed the App, they have been able to speak to their workers and have a voice in their meetings. It has also meant workers can find out how they're young people are really feeling as well. Being involved with Mind of my Own is one project that I am most proud of. We know the positive direct impact the App has had on children and young people.

I am continually involved in interviewing for posts which have included Social Workers, Independent Reviewing Officers, Child protection Chairs, Heads of Services and ASYE’s. We give our views on whether they would be suitable for working with children and young people. Our opinions are held in high regard by other panel members and we make a joint decision.

Another project I am involved with is looking at Audits. A small group of Ambassadors audit children's files and check that social workers are obtaining the voice of the child and that there is evidence of this. We are also looking for language that cares to ensure that when the child is able to access their files they are able to understand their story and the decisions made. The impact of this has been we are able to share our findings to senior management and make improvements.

 

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