NI consultation

Home for Good's response response to Northern Ireland Consultation on ‘Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives

On Monday 25 June 2018 Home for Good held a roundtable in Stormont Building in Belfast to examine the ‘Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives’. In May, the Department of Health and Department of Education in Northern Ireland announced a consultation on this joint strategy and as such Home for Good sought to provide a well-informed response, based on the invaluable experience of those working on the ground with vulnerable children across the social care landscape. The roundtable was well-attended by MLAs, social workers, Home for Good champions, foster carers and adoptive parents from across Northern Ireland.Two outcomes relating most directly to the work of Home for Good were selected from the strategy for the roundtable to focus on.

These were:

  • Outcome 5 – Learning and achieving
  • Outcome 8 – Contributing positively to community and society

Some of the key points in our response included:

  • A recommendation that a module on looked after children, covering issues around attachment and trauma awareness, be developed and incorporated into teacher training courses
  • Out-of-school activities play a vital role in the lives of looked after children and providers of such activities should receive training on how to best engage this group of children.
  • In order to raise aspirations, we first need to understand and implement strategies to address looked after children’s lack of motivation to learn.
  • The huge diversity within the looked after children population must be recognised and society must take account of the unique needs each group has in making a positive contribution to society.
  • Looked after children should be included in each and every aspect of their lives, such as in decision-making affecting their wellbeing, which will help to build wider respect and appreciation for them.
  • Provision offered to looked after children should be extended to children who have been adopted, in recognition that they face many of the same challenges.


Click here to view a full transcript of Home for Good’s response to the consultation for these two outcomes, including the indicators proposed for measuring success for each.

The consultation closed on 01 August. We look forward to seeing how the Departments will respond to the consultation and are grateful for their commitment, of which this strategy is just one step, ‘to improv[ing] the overall wellbeing of looked after children and care experienced young people’.

Home for Good would like to thank all those who attended the roundtable for their valuable and insightful contributions.

If you would like to know more about Home for Good’s work in Northern Ireland, please contact Malini at malini@homeforgood.org.uk

If you have any further queries about the consultation or Home for Good’s policy work, please contact natalie.hunter-mills@homeforgood.org.uk

Author:
Emily Christou, Political Advocacy Manager


Date published:
15 August 2018


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