Two young care leavers from Kent enjoyed a visit to Westminster to attend an event highlighting the experience of children in care.
Annabelle Taylor, 22 and Matthew Roberts, 21 were previously children in care, looked after by Kent County Council. After an invitation from Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, they joined an audience of parliamentarians, decision makers and members of the media at the launch of the State of the Nation report, discussing support for children in care.
Representatives from Kent were invited to attend as the Council was one of the top five respondents nationally to the recent children in care survey sent out from the Commissioner’s Office.
Annabelle, who alongside Matthew is undertaking an apprenticeship with KCC’s Virtual School Kent, said “I was really pleased to meet the Children’s Commissioner and attend the launch.
“I felt that it did pinpoint the issue of the lack of support both financially and emotionally, available to those who leave care, even after they reach 21.
“I think this matter really needs a lot more attention and as part of Virtual School Kent’s participation team, I’m looking forward to becoming part of the Commissioner’s network to work on this.
Annabelle added “In the future, I hope to be able to influence some of the decisions made for care-leavers and children in care.”
Virtual School Kent helps develop and improve services for children in care and young care leavers, promoting their educational achievement and ensuring they receive a high quality education.
Peter Oakford, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services said “The State of the Nation report is an important document which furthers debate nationally about the extended support that is made available to care leavers.
“Annabelle and Matthew are a credit to the Council and we look forward to their continued work in improving outcomes for care leavers both in Kent and beyond.”