What is an IRO ?
If you are a child or young person in care you will have regular meetings with the people who are involved in caring and supporting you. The reason for the meeting is make sure that your “ care plan “ which is a plan for your life so long as you are in care , is right for you, What you feel and think about is a really important part of this.
Your IRO should:
• Talk to you alone, about what is happening in your life and what you think about it.
• Find out if you are happy about where you are living and who you are living with.
• Speak to you about whether you are happy with arrangements for seeing your family and communicating with them.
• Ask you about any worries you may have about school or college.
• Talk to the Council and your social worker about the plans they have for you, and ask you if you are happy about these plans.
• You have many rights and entitlements in law that the IRO should make sure you know about and that you are getting.
The IRO should make sure your review meeting is held at a place and time that is good for you, and that you feel comfortable with. They should ask you who you want to come to your meeting and should respect your wishes. They should run the meeting in a way that you feel happy with. If you would like to run “ chair “ the meeting yourself , they should support you to do this.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE MEETING – IT IS YOUR MEETING!
Messages from Children and Young people in care
The Care Experienced Conference that took place on 26 April 2019 brought together 141 people from the care experienced community of all ages for the first time. It was attended by over 250 people, 20 of whom were under 18, 45 between 19 and 25, and the rest were over 25. The conference published a summary report and a researchers report.
The 10 key messages were:
1. We need more love in the care system, including displays of positive physical affection.
2. We want to be seen as individuals worthy of respect much more than we are.
3. Relationships are critically important to us.
4. Instability and loss of continuity in our lives is made worse through no fault of ours by pressure in the care system.
5. Mental health and well- being are our biggest worries and the most important and urgent things that have to improve.
6. The impacts of the care experience do not end at 18, or 21 or even 25.
7. Our sense of who we are is important. Our family, heritage and history are uniquely ours and must be protected.
8. Having our say is essential.
9. We have legal rights and entitlements, and we are not always being told what they are.
10. Nobody knows more about what it means to be in care than we do.
See the reports https://info822785.wixsite.com/careexpconf
Impact of the pandemic for care leavers
The research team at the University of Bedfordshire have published a briefing paper summarising the initial stage of their research about the impact that Covid 19 has had for care leavers.
The Key messages were :-
Care leavers are resilient (but still need support)
• Reduced bureaucracy and prioritisation of strategies to promote positive wellbeing
• Creative and tailored approaches to keeping in touch
• ‘It’s not just digital poverty [it’s] actual poverty
• Mental health and the widening ‘care gap’
• Housing: winners and losers
• Moving beyond age-related transitions
• Shortages of suitable accommodation
• Acknowledgement of the importance of bridging the ‘digital divide’
• Varied experiences of online learning
• Celebrating practice
Click link here to download research briefing
Good practice examples
• Sutton Council scraps Council tax for care leavers up to age 25 – What happens in your Local Authority ? Click here to read
Affinity Fostering Video
Please click here to see Affinity Fostering Video that was made by members of the Voices Group at Affinity Fostering.
Affinity’s young person group, “Voices” created this video to try and implement change in the ongoing practice of where Child in Care Reviews are held, highlighting that these should not be held in school.
The group presented their work at the NAIRO conference 2019 and their video was showcased at the NAIRO conference 18.03.2021.
We also showcased the following videos at our recent NAIRO conference:
Gloucestershire County Council
Language that Cares Videos
‘The Placement Game – Ensuring Sharing Capabilities’
Click link here to access Sheffield Children in Care Council’s film, game and training resources.