A new initiative to give every care experienced Midlothian child a voice bounced into life at Ryze trampoline park and Transgression skate park.
Working with the independent advocacy agency, Who Cares? Scotland, Midlothian’s Children’s Champions project will see an elected board of care experienced children and young people help shape policies affecting them.
Speaking at the launch in Mayfield, which coincided with the national Care Leavers Week, Councillor Bob Constable (SNP) explained: “We think it is hugely important that care experienced children are heard and that they have a say in what happens to them both now and in the future.
“How are they doing at school, are they healthy, what are their hopes for the future? We need to make sure children and young people are telling us such vital information so we can make sure they realise their full potential.
“The Children’s Champions Board will, therefore, have a key role in supporting and challenging our corporate parenting board, on which I sit along with other councillors, the chief executive, senior managers and directors.
“It is our job as corporate parents to provide the best possible services and support to our care experienced children and young people. An important aspect of that role is listening to them and indeed treating them as any parent would treat his or her child.”
Aaron Anderson (18), has just been appointed a children’s practitioner. His role will be to help establish and enable the Children’s Champions Board.
Aaron, who was previously in residential care, said: “Every young person in care should be heard. No matter how important the director or manager writing the policy, they are not as important as the child.”
To launch the new initiative, which takes over from the previous Kids in Care Krew, around 30 children and 15 carers enjoyed an hour of free trampolining and skating.
A child or young person who is care experienced has been looked after by the local authority at some time in their lives, either while living with their parents, relatives, foster carers or in residential accommodation.