In late 2016, The Children’s Family Trust (CFT) applied for a sum of money from the National Lottery to fund a project titled ‘Ace in the Pack’. The hope for this project was to develop our current Children’s Guides for our Looked after Children, making the information that needs to be accessible to them more user-friendly and interactive. With the support of Paul and Max from ‘C&T’, we anxiously awaited the outcome of this application and began thinking about how this money could help us develop our current packs.
We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we were successful in our application and thanks to the National Lottery, we have been able to completely re-vamp our guides for looked after children and bring them into the 21st century!
Our Children’s Guides were traditionally paper based folders, filled with paragraphs of text heavy information. Our new children’s guide will see each of our children and young people receive a pack of playing guides containing the information they may need whilst in placement. The purpose of these cards it to encourage engagement between Supervising Social Worker’s, Foster Carers and Other Adults working with our children and young people, by allowing them to ‘play’ their way through the information in a more interactive and fun way.
Each playing card is representative of a different piece of information, message or topic. Given the generosity of the National Lottery, we wanted to make sure that our cards are looking progressively towards the future and therefore, in an age where technology is paramount, we decided to incorporate the use of QR codes to elaborate on the snippets of information displayed on each card. We understand that not everyone will have access or be able to use a smart phone or tablet to scan the QR codes, therefore they are just additional information for our children and young people, expanding on the information already provided on the playing cards.
The information detailed on our cards was created in consultation with a group of young people in our care, as well as a team of staff with differing experiences of fostering and skills. By combining these groups of people, we were able to ensure that our cards not only met the requirements of the children’s guide for our organization, but also took into consideration the kinds of information that our looked after young people felt would be beneficial to other children in our care. As children are at the heart of CFT, we wanted to involve them in this project and we were thrilled to have the participation of some of our children and young people who feature on the cards as they talk about their experiences and give advice from their time in care. We would like to thank Callum (age 16) and Adam (age 15) for all their hard work and input on this project, they really demonstrated their creative ability and passion towards a project, especially when working with Paul and Max to be filmed and helping to edit some of the content!
Previously our children’s guides were issued dependent on a child’s age, however going forward, we wanted to recognize that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to children and young people, and therefore wanted to equip the children in our care with additional information or ‘extras’ we feel would be useful for them, appropriate to their level of understanding.
In addition to our new interactive cards, each child or young person will now receive a non-branded welcome bag which containing a pack of the our playing cards, a wallet containing information for important contacts, a notepad and a weekly planner with dry wipe pen. In addition to this, our children and young people will also be issued with leaflets appropriate for them. These additional extras, along with the ‘Ace in the Pack’ playing cards, will make up our brand new children’s guide which will be issued to all our children and young people in early 2018.
Once again we would really like to thank everyone involved in this project including Paul & Max at C&T, Callum and Adam and the staff closely involved in this project, Jayne Figgett, Shelley Candlin, Emma Higgs and Connie Ingles.
We hope you are all as excited about the new guides as we are and we hope that our children will enjoy using them as they play their way through important information!