Kent County Council (KCC) has relaunched its website for children in care and care leavers to make it more accessible.
Kent Cares Town was launched in 2012 as a one-stop shop for young people and professionals to access a wealth of information around being in care.
The website is run by Virtual School Kent (VSK), our service responsible for championing the voice, progress and educational attainment of children in care and care leavers.
Over the course of the past year, VSK’s Participation and Engagement Team and apprentices have been working closely with all three of our Children in Care Councils and its cohort of VSK apprentices to create a new and more friendly design.
In response to their feedback, the website now has three separate sections for primary school aged children, secondary school age school children and those aged over 16 or care leavers.
At the request of The Super Council – who are formed of younger children, their section of the website is themed around superheroes, with the children having their pick of colourful designs and voting on their favourite characters for inclusion.
Care leavers, on the other hand, wanted clear information about housing, finances and employment.
Kent Cares Town has also been redesigned to be more mobile friendly and an app will be available to download.
VSK’s Jo Carpenter, who has led the project, said: “As a council, it is extremely important that we listen to the young people in our care and make sure we are providing the best possible resources for them. We are very grateful to all the young people who worked with us on this project and to our apprentices who gave valuable feedback about what would have helped them on their journey through care.
“We hope all the work we have put into Kent Cares Town will make it easier than ever before for young people to access the support they need.”
“Kent Cares Town will be regularly updated by VSK’s participation team and apprentices, who will be contributing vlogs, blogs and documenting their work in championing the views of young people in care. We love the fact that the look of each portal is down to the young people’s ideas.”
Chelsea Goodwin, VSK apprentice, said: “In our job role as participation apprentices, we want to help make sure that young people know all the information and feel they have a voice in what happens to them.
“The new Kent Cares Town gives them lots of opportunities to have their say. It also gives us a way of making sure all children in care and care leavers know about us and the work we do.”
Sophia Dunstan, VSK Participation Officer added: “I wish that something like this website had been available when I was in care. It is a place where you can go if you need to know anything about being in care in Kent. It also has easy ways to get in touch with people who can help you if you can’t find the answer you are looking for.”
For more information, visit https://kentcarestown.lea.kent.sch.uk/.
Notes for journalists
- Kent has three children in care councils which gives children and young people the chance to shape and influence the parenting that they receive at every level, it gives young people a chance to have a say about the things that really matter in their lives, helping to shape the overall strategy for cared for children and young people in Kent.
Changes to website in full:
- Works on all devices, laptops, desktops, iPads and mobiles
- 3 separate portals with age-related content
- Will be regularly edited an updated by the VSK Participation Team and apprentices, so will stay current
- Hosts surveys – 18+ Care leaver survey is now live on the website
- Includes updates from the 3 children in Care councils and their work, ie, Challenge Cards, Rent Guarantor Scheme
- Includes contributions from young people, newsletters, art gallery, writers corner, vlogs, blogs, podcasts – contributions will be activity encouraged
- Latest news feed – to be regularly updated
- Corporate Parenting information and responsibilities