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Celebration of Achievement 2016!

Our 15th annual Celebration of Achievement event this year was a red carpet themed ceremony!

Young people and their carers were greeted and photographed as they walked the red carpet. The event was planned and organised by The Brent Virtual School for Looked After Children and it was the first event held in the Grand Hall, Civic Centre.

There was a great turnout of staff and senior managers attending, including the Chief Executive.  Over 100 young people attended with their carers and families and in total 158 young people were nominated either by their teacher or social worker for an award.

The certificate ceremony was presented by the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Ruth Moher and Gail Tolley and there was an amazing array of talent on show from our young people which included an inspirational speech, rapping, singing, dancing and poetry recital.  Thomas Owoo, Advisory Teacher within the Brent Inclusion Service also performed a powerful personal performance poetry segment which he had written especially for the event.

Inspection report of children services published

Between September and October 2015, Brent Council's services for children and young people were reviewed by Ofsted, the xx

Ofsted found that "the council has made improvements to services for children but is still not meeting the needs of all children in Brent well enough. Managers in the council understand what they are already doing well and what they need to do better. They are working hard to improve further."

  • Most children get help from social workers quickly, particularly if it is urgent. For a few children it takes a little longer and inspectors have told the council that they need to get help to all children quickly.
  • Managers make sure that social workers in Brent have enough time to spend talking to children and young people so they understand what they need to do to help.
  • There have been improvements in the services for children who need to be looked after but some children and young people still have several changes in their social worker. Inspectors found that some plans did not properly explain what needed to happen to make things better for the children and young people who are in care.
  • The local authority does not yet make sure that all children and young people who go missing have a return interview by someone who is independent. The information from these interviews is not always used to make sure children and young people receive the support they need and to make it less likely they will go missing again.
  • Managers have worked hard to develop ways to help understand risks to children and young people, for example if they are involved with gangs or at risk of sexual exploitation. Social workers do not always use these ways and so children and young people’s plans are not as helpful as they could be in protecting them from harm.
  • Care leavers receive regular support but not all of them find their plans useful. Managers know they need to do better at this. Personal advisers work hard to make sure care leavers have suitable accommodation. Many go on to higher education but not enough have opportunities to train through apprenticeships.
  • There are not always enough council approved foster carers in Brent to help and support children with brothers and sisters who may need to be in care together or for older children.
  • Social workers work hard to find adoptive families for children who need them and, because of this, there are no children waiting to be adopted in Brent.
  • The Local Children Safeguarding Board is made up of organisations who work together to organise the protection of children in Brent. The Board needs to be better at finding out which services are improving things for children. It can then help organisations to work together in a better way and ensure that children are protected.

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What does that word mean?

It is not always easy to understand some words that people use when they talk to you whilst you are in care. An explanation of these can help you to understand what they mean a lot more clearly.

Here is a list of the most common words and phrases that may be used while you are in care, and what they actually mean.

A

Accommodated

This is another word for being looked after by Social Care.

Advocacy

An advocate is a person who can support what you have to say. For example, if you want an adult to be with you when you make a complaint and talk on your behalf.

Allowances

This is the money you are allowed. You will get pocket money every week, plus a certain amount on your birthday, at Christmas and for other religious festivals.

Assessment

Social Care will collect information about you and your family circumstances and write in a report who they feel should care for you. Other professionals such as school teachers may also add information and you can tell your social worker if you wish to have your views included in the report.

B

Benefit entitlements

Money you have a right to.

Booster classes

Extra classes to help you with your school work.

Budgeting

Managing your money and planning how much money you have to spend.

C

Care order

This is a legal order made by the court that gives Social Care permission to look after you.

Care plan

A care plan is a written document that says how and where you are going to live and be looked after. If you have any special needs such as for health reasons or have a special diet, this will all be recorded on your care plan. Your care plan may also include details of any clubs you are part of or other activities that you like to do on a regular basis, as well as detailing which school you go to and details of contact with family, relatives and friends.

Complaints

Social Care have a legal duty to have a procedure to deal with complaints. If you are unhappy about your treatment by social care or you feel that they have not done what they should have, then you have the right to make a complaint and to have it investigated. You should have been given a leaflet on making a complaint, if not ask your social worker for one.

Complaints officer

A complaints officer works for the complaints department at Social Care. They are the people who will contact you if you make a complaint to Social Care.

Contact

This is the word used to describe when and how you see your family and relatives.

Corporate parents

Councillors who have a responsibility to do their best for children in care.

D

Duty officer

This is a social worker who is available to speak to when your social worker is out of the office or on holiday.

E

Emergency Duty team (EDT)

These are social workers who are available to talk to, out of office hours, for emergency situations.

F

Foster care

This is when you are "looked after" within a family situation by foster carers.

I

In care

This is when you are cared for by social care (see "looked after").

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

The person that manages your care plan and chairs your reviews.

Independent visitor

This is someone who is not part of social care who you can talk to about things.

L

Landlord

The person who owns or has responsibility for your home.

Leaving care

This is when you leave either the residential or foster home and move to a place of your own. There is a leaving care worker who will help you with this and they are called personal advisers.

Living independently

Living on your own with some support.

Looked after

This means that Social Care helps out with looking after and caring for you, this can be alongside or instead of your parents.

P

Participation officer

A person who gets children and young people in care involved in decision making that improves the services that affect them.

Personal Education Plan (PEP)

This is a plan of your education whilst you are looked after by social care, this is a very important document, which helps you to achieve your goals.

R

Regulation 33 visitors

This is a person from the council who visits each residential home every month to make sure that everything is okay for both the young people and the staff there. They talk to staff and young people, make notes and then write a report that goes to the manager of the residential home. This is to make sure that you are being well cared for.

Residential care

Another name for a children’s home.

Review

Every young person will have a review from time to time. This is where your social worker and other professionals will talk to you and your family and see if anything has changed since they first assessed you or wrote your care plan.

If things have changed then new agreements may be made. You will be fully involved in the review and it is important that you have your say.

S

Social worker

This person is employed by social care, each young person will have a named social worker who will be responsible for their care.

T

Tenancy

A document which allows you to live somewhere within certain agreed rules.

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