We have a Children’s Participation and Support Leader for the Lincolnshire area. This is what they say about their role. In short, I have the best job ever! I genuinely believe that too. Whenever anyone asks me to explain my role, I always tell them I am simply there to support the young people. Whether that be one to one time where I take them out for a milkshake or work through workbooks about whatever they are struggling with, I am there to be a support for them. I like to describe myself as the fun yet protective big sister for our young people.
How I come into play is usually through our social workers talking with our carers and highlighting that I may be of service to the young person in that carers care. Sometimes I am requested for support because the young person might be displaying challenging behaviours or that the young person appears to be going through something and to ease the pressure on the carer, I work with them to see if I can help. The support is not always for behavioural factors as I see parent and child placements once a week for four hours. The support for our young people as well as the parent and child tend to be outside of the home (pre Covid19).
I cater my support sessions to the interests of the young person and will always ask what they would like to do. For example, I was working with one young boy who loved doing anything physical so I would take him to a trampoline park. This particular young person also loved milkshakes so we would alternate going for a milkshake and to the trampoline park. When we went for a milkshake, we worked through the My Hidden Chimp book as their carer felt the young person would benefit from understanding his emotions.
With my parent and child placements, I will ask the parent if there is anything they want to do with their child. On one occasion, one of my parent and child placements wanted to go to a farm that she had found online so we spent an afternoon there. I encourage the parent and child placements to look for things in the local area to do so they are getting the most out of our time together. I often will take any parent and child placements to the shops so they can get supplies for their child. This, as well as planning trips out, is a good opportunity to help build the parents confidence and independence whilst out and about.
To be able to offer this support to our looked after children is so valuable to them. It gives both them and the carers some respite whilst giving the young person lots to talk to the carers about when they return home!