Children in care and care leavers

We promise

  • to provide you with a named independent reviewing officer who will chair your childcare review and make sure your views are heard and understood.

  • to establish, train and support a group of children and young people in care, who'll meet regularly with senior managers and Barnsley councillors to talk about what it's like being in care and share ideas for making things better. This group is known locally as the Care 4 Us Council, Barnsley's forum with direct links to the Director of Children's Services and Lead Elected Member. Through the forum, children in care and care leavers can express their views and influence the services and support they receive.

  • to involve the Children in Care Council in developing, monitoring and reviewing the pledge by providing advice, assistance and information, and seeing how well we're doing to meet the promises set out in the pledge.

  • to listen to your views and opinions and involve you in decisions about your care.

  • to talk to you and other children and young people in care to help us decide how to change and improve our services.

  • to provide you with a copy of the pledge so that you know what we're doing, and can tell us if we're not meeting these promises. You can do this by talking to your social worker, reviewing officer, or anyone else you know who'll tell us, including the Children's Rights Service.

Your review meetings

Your review meeting is a time for you to talk about how you're getting on and the plans being made with you while you're in care.

You, your mum or dad (if it's appropriate), your social worker and carer will be at the meeting. There might be times that other people are invited too, like your teacher or advocate if you need someone to support you. There will also be an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). It's their job to lead the discussion at the meeting and help decide your long term plans.

The IRO will make sure you understand what's happening and will talk to you before the meeting starts. They'll ask you if there's anything you'd like to talk about and tell you exactly what'll happen in the meeting so there's no surprises. There will also be an opportunity for you to chair your own review, as long as you're comfortable doing it.

You'll have your first review when you've been looked after for 20 working days (28 days if you count Saturdays and Sundays). The next review meeting will be three months later and after that they'll be every six months.

Remember, your views about decisions that affect your life are really important. You can use the Your Review questionnaire to help you prepare for your meeting.

How you can get involved

There are plenty of ways to have your say if you're in care in Barnsley. You can read about them below.

Care4Us Council

The Care4Us Council is a forum for children and young people in care and care leavers who meet  regularly to share their ideas and experiences, while representing the voice of other children and young people who are in, or leaving, care.

Find out more about the Care4Us Council.

Youth Council

The Youth Council is a group of local young people who are elected by their peers every two years to represent the views of all other young people living in the borough at a local, regional and national level. Youth council members are elected to represent the voice of all children and young people in Barnsley, the school or college that they attend, and also the area in which they live.

The Youth Council works closely with the Care4Us Council and Barnsley Council in order to make sure that young people’s voices are heard in decisions that affect their lives. They're supported by participation workers from the Targeted Youth Support Service, with members of the Youth Council representing Barnsley in the United Kingdom Youth Parliament and in helping shape the future for Barnsley through the Sheffield City Region. They attend regional meetings and national events, including an annual debate in the House of Commons.

The full Youth Council meets monthly in the council chambers at the Town Hall. Members also attend meetings in their schools and local areas to gain the views of as many young people as possible.

Independent visitors

The Targeted Youth Support Service provides children and young people who are looked after with independent visitors.

Some young people have no family contact and no immediate support available. An independent visitor is a trusted adult who will support you, have regular contact with you and someone who can share social activities and interests with you. They will even attend you review of you want them to.

If you're not happy about something

If you’re not happy about decisions made about your care or the services provided for you, talk to your Children’s Rights advocate about it. They'll make sure you're listened to and help you make positive changes.

You can also get free help, advice and support from the Children's Commissioner; find out more in their leaflet or visit the Help at Hand website.

Go to the Help at Hand website
Children sat on a bench