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Investing in Children membership award for London and East Fostering Team

Young people in a recording studio

The children said they enjoyed a rap workshop and would like to do more

The annual Investing in Children Membership Award™ recognises how our Fostering Services promote young people’s participation in dialogue, decision-making and change regarding the care and support they receive. Children and young people have to provide the evidence for the organisation and endorse the report because it is a children’s and young people’s award.   

The latest Five Rivers Fostering services team to pass the test is London and East.  

The Investing in Children assessment took place online: Robert Johnson, the assessor connected online with 6 young people, K.O.J.J.L. and T.  They told him how important their fostering support workers are in helping them get involved in participation projects, group meetings, regular face to face meetings and conversations over the telephone or online platforms. The young people also spoke about feeling central to decision-making and valued the regular contact that took place throughout Five Rivers to promote their ideas and views.  We are publishing some of the key points  with the young people’s supporting comments: 

First Aid Training 

Some young people identified that first aid training would be a good thing to learn about and this was organised by the team. 

“We asked about first aid courses and they put a course on for us”. 

“It was good because we got to interact with other young people and learn new stuff”.  

Young Recruiters 

The team wanted more young people involved in the recruitment of staff. Therefore, the team collaborated with a group of young people to introduce a young recruiters scheme. The aim of this scheme is to allow young people to develop skills to undertake interviews, which is happening now.

“It’s to make sure young people get the chance to interview people and have a say”. 

Life Skills Course

Some young people asked to undertake life skills development so that they feel ready for when they leave foster care placements. 

“I know some young people put forward ideas about learning things for when they leave care”. 

“It was good to learn about transport and cooking”.

County Lines Awareness

One young person said the team had responded to her suggestion, which has led to a training session being scheduled.

 “I think young people need to know about county lines, because it can happen and Five Rivers need to make sure they tell young people, so they have set something up to stop it happening” 

Other comments made by young people.

“They will listen to us about where we want to go for planned trips”. 

“We have been rock climbing, ice skating and to a trampoline park”.

“They always want to speak to you and ask how you are”. 

“I have been with the local council before and Five Rivers are better I think, because you seem to see them more and they listen to you”.  

One young person explained why he thought the team should gain the award

I think Five Rivers needs a promotion because the things that they’ve done for us kids and other people like disabled people and people who have mental health, they have done a lot and I think they definitely deserve something like an achievement or award”

Recommendations made by young people
The following ideas were put forward by some of the young people:  

“I think it would be good if they did more diversity training for families so foster carers know young people better and their cultures”.  

“They could do stuff to make sure everyone gets on in the family, especially for children who are in care, making sure they are treated the same”. 

“It would be good if we could do more things like the rap song, because you get to make friends”. 

The report concludes

“I have no hesitation in recommending that the Five Rivers Fostering Services, London East Team once again receives the Investing In Children Membership Award and look forward to further changes being made next year when coming to the re-evaluation of the team.”
Robert Johnson, Investing in Children Project Manager

Head of Fostering Martin Leitch said,  

“We are delighted to hear how well the London and East region are doing in involving the young people in decision making,  giving them the opportunities to express their views and giving them a voice in society. We value the feedback and will look at what needs to be put into action to improve the young people’s experience of care.” 

Why Investing in Children?

As a social enterprise,  Five Rivers invests all its surplus into schemes to promote participation, so Investing in Children accreditation is a vital kitemark for this element of our work. This membership award is renewed annually and Five Rivers will ensure we keep on listening and creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue as part of our everyday organisational culture.

The Investing in Children Membership Award ™ Scheme recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice with children and young people. Organisations applying for the award have to demonstrate dialogue with young people which leads to change. 

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