Support for children in our care
Every child or young person in our care has to have their care arrangements reviewed regularly and independently by law.
This is to make sure that their care plans are being followed and the child's wishes and feelings are being taken into account.
The independent reviewing officer for your care will help you have your say. They'll also help you contact an advocate if you're unhappy about your care.
Every child or young person in our care will be consulted about contact with their birth parents or extended family.
The court may stipulate what this contact should be. Independent reviewing officers will regularly look at contact with family of the child as part of their review.
We want to make sure that children and young people achieve the best they can at school and progress on to further or higher education, training or employment.
There's a designated teacher in every school to support the education of children in care. Their role is to help make sure that the school is taking positive action to help young people in care achieve their best. With the social worker they'll make sure that the young person's personal education plan (PEP) is carefully reviewed twice a year.
In Derbyshire there's a range of support to help children in care make the most of their education.
Derbyshire's Virtual School was launched in September 2014 and aims to enhance the life opportunities for children in care by supporting their education and enabling them to achieve the best they can.
All Derbyshire children in care, from reception age, can have access to a laptop, provided by the Virtual School, to help and support their learning. This will normally be discussed and agreed at their PEP. For more information please contact the Virtual School, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If children in care have extra support needs to help them manage in school or to accelerate their learning we can help their school to provide it through a special fund. For more information contact Sue Mills, email: email@example.com
Children and their carers can apply through their social worker for support from the ELE fund. This is to make sure that children in care can take part in out of school activities like scouts, sports teams and clubs, drama and dance, music tuition and other hobbies and outdoor pursuits.
All children between reception and year 11, who have been in care for at least one day, are eligible for the pupil premium of £1,900. The pupil premium for children in care is managed by the Virtual School Headteacher (VSH) and used for the benefit of the child's educational needs as described in their personal education plan.
The VSH will make sure arrangements are in place to discuss how the child will benefit from pupil premium funding with the designated teacher in the child's education setting.
Education and learning post 16
Derbyshire Virtual School can offer Post 16 support to young people in care, including advice and guidance on transition, additional needs, further education visits and how to apply for the 16-19 education bursary.
For young people aged 16-19, attending FE college or school sixth form full-time, there is a national scheme called the 16-19 bursary. This entitles young people in care to £1,200 per year to help with the costs of study. Ask your school, college or training provider for details. The finance department within the young person's Post 16 provision will need a letter to confirm the young person is in our care before the bursary can be paid, the letter can be provided by the young person's social worker.
Post 16 PETP
A Post 16 Personal Education and Training Plan (PETP) meeting will be arranged twice per academic year for young people in care aged 16-18.
Robust PETPs will be devised in collaboration with young people, MAT personal advisors, carers, social and aftercare workers, and designated post 16 tutors. These will have clear SMART targets and actions for adults to ensure that young people are supported in their education, while also tracking and monitoring progress, post 16.
The Virtual School work collaborate with relevant professionals and young people to ensure that the young people do not become NEET (no education, employment or training) at post 16.
Support for care leavers − higher education
We believe that finance shouldn't be a barrier to young people going to university, therefore we provide advice, guidance and financial support to all care leavers (18 to 24 years old), aspiring to do a Level 4 or above higher education course. Please contact the Virtual School HE Advisor for further details. We believe that every child in care is capable of success in learning and in life and we want to support young people to go on to achieve.
The PROPEL website (opens in a new window) (formerly the Who Cares Trust) has resources for care leavers with information about the support available to them from universities and colleges across the UK.
Children's rights service
We provide lots of ways for children in care to have your say, our aim is to ensure that you have the information that you need to make decisions and to let people know your views and feelings. You can contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 532 029.
Caring Voice and participation
If you are 'in care' you could join Caring Voice the Children in Care Council which gives you a place to have your say and help yourself and other children and young people in care. For more information please contact Vicky Pealing, email: email@example.com or tel: 01629 532029
If you're a vulnerable child or young person you can have an 'independent advocate'. This is someone who'll work with you to represent your views to decision makers and, if you need it, help you to make complaints. An advocate will come and meet you where is best for you and at a time that suits you.
For more information please contact Vicky Pealing, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 532029
Advocacy aims to empower children and young people to ensure their views are heard when decisions are being made. Advocates have annual safeguarding training and are CRB checked every three years.
Volunteer independent visitors
Independent visitors are volunteers who regularly visit children in care and take them out and about to do fun activities like playing sport, going to the cinema or day trips out.
The independent visitor will visit about once a fortnight for a few hours. In between visits they'll write letters, send cards and texts to keep in touch. If you would like to find out more about having an independent visitor or if you're interested in becoming a volunteer independent visitor contact Vicky Pealing, email: email@example.com or tel: 01629 532029