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Welcome note from Jenny

Jenny Coles

Welcome to another edition of CS News and as we move into June, it’s nice that we finally have some better weather and the sun is shining.  There continues to be lots going on as always and no doubt we are all waiting to find out if there will be a national lifting of restrictions at the end of this month!

Firstly, I must congratulate our two care leavers who presented and facilitated workshops at a recent conference entitled `Effective Children’s Social Work in a Pandemic; what we’ve learned’. They did a brilliant job, explaining the findings of reports and asking participants to say what they would do to ensure care leavers are fully supported going forwards.

This was a participatory research project led by Essex County Council and Anglia Ruskin University to find out how care leavers were affected by the pandemic. It involved six Local Authorities and we had four of our young people – all care leaver and volunteers with CHICC – taking part. The results highlighted how hard it was for care leavers during the pandemic in terms of isolation and mental health difficulties.  Reports have been finalised and proposals made on how improvements can be made for care leavers.  A huge well done and thank you to all the young people who took part. Their contribution and views will be incorporated into our recovery work going forward. 

The independent review of children’s social care have now published the review’s workforce engagement plan. It is vital that the review hears from professionals working with children and families so there is an understanding of what works well in children’s social care and what needs to be improved.   I am keen for Herts to share our good practice as I believe we will add value to future learning.

As I’m sure you are now aware the long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill has finally gained Royal Assent. This is a monumental step in tackling domestic abuse and increasing the recognition of the devasting impact in has on victims and their children. Through our existing work and preparation for the Act, we are already in a strong position to take forward the required new duties to develop our safe accommodation and services further, and the extra funding provided will help us to meet the needs of those affected here in Hertfordshire. It’s so important that those experiencing domestic abuse feel safe and confident to come forward so that we can provide the right help at the right time.  We feature more about the Act in this edition.

As we think about our recovery plan and look to the future, I must mention schools and education settings and CS staff working tirelessly to support children and young people to get back on track.  Thank you all for your continued hard work.

And finally, don’t forget our Children's Services Roadshows at the end of this month. We should know more the lifting or easing of national restrictions by then and there will be the usual time allocated for questions to discuss this or anything else.

Best wishes

Jenny 

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