Kent children stepped into the shoes of senior council staff and councillors as part of an initiative that put young people at the heart of decision making.
Kent County Council’s (KCC) Takeover Day on Wednesday, May 29 saw children in care, care leavers and adopted or fostered young people take charge of the Corporate Parenting Panel and have their voices heard.
Around 25 young people aged between 10 and 25 took part, shadowing KCC directors, officers and senior councillors to learn how the council is run and how decisions are made at County Hall in Maidstone.
Tabatha, 11, said: “It was a really great day with young people having the chance to lead the meeting with their own agenda.
“We had the chance to discuss important and current issues with our corporate parents such as social media, our aspirations for the future and other topics that are important to us.”
Brad, 17, shadowed Ann Allen, chairman of the Corporate Parenting Panel. He said: “It was a phenomenal experience to be able to take over the Corporate Parenting Meeting and to co-chair the meeting with Ann.
“I would love to see this happen again and would highly recommend it as it was an amazing event to be part of.”
The Corporate Parenting Panel is a council committee and forum made up of organisations across Kent who are responsible for carrying out many of the roles a parent would, supporting children in care to grow, thrive and lead happy, fulfilled lives.
The panel’s role is to act as an advocate for children in or leaving local authority care, make services better and to give young people a voice in decision making.
Most recently this saw the committee take forward proposals from young people to act as a guarantor for care leavers entering private accommodation and exempt care leavers from council tax up until the age of 25.
Matt Dunkley, Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education said: “It was a memorable, moving, empowering and enlightening occasion. I was left feeling so proud of our young people for their confidence, resilience and good humour, and deeply proud to be a corporate parent.“
For further information about the Kent County Council Communications Office contact David Gazet on 03000 422589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.kent.gov.uk/news or www.twitter.com/kent_cc for news from Kent County Council.