We are currently partnering with eight North East London (NEL) local authorities as part of the DfE Innovations Programme to involve young people to have a voice in co-producing local children’s homes provisions.
Our idea was to carry out an initial consultation activity to gather insight from young people from across the eight local authorities to explore the current context. Using a mixed-method approach (questionnaires and in-depth interviewing), we spoke with 38 young people about their experiences of growing up in residential care. These findings were directly used to inform the NEL Partnership Board on what was important for young people and what should be prioritised when they set up new children’s homes across their boroughs.
Alongside this, we engaged and recruited three young people to join the strategic NEL Partnership Board as equal members who would influence the design, implementation, and governance of the programme and commissioning arrangements going forward. We provide ongoing support to these young people through the facilitation of monthly meetings where we have created a safe space for young people to discuss and consult on their experiences of residential care. We have collaboratively created a one-day interactive training for staff working with young people alongside a number of other resources that support professionals to understand what it is like to grow up in residential care.