Care leaver ambassadors launched in Oxfordshire

National Care Leavers Week

Care leavers in Oxfordshire will have an opportunity to share their vision for improving lives of young people, thanks to the recruitment of their very own team of ambassadors.

The Children in Care Council (CiCC) appointed ambassadors will begin their role during National Care Leavers week (26 Oct - 01 Nov 2020).

Ambassadors for CiCC have been appointed to ensure the voices of children and young people in care are heard and included in decision making. They will be meeting and talking to children out of county, those with disabilities, and new arrivals to Oxfordshire’s children in care scheme.

The ambassadors will ensure care leavers are given a high priority and are supported through to independent living when they leave care.

Ambassadors will form a link between care leavers, CiCC, Oxfordshire Care Leavers Association (OCLA) and Corporate Parenting Panel; ensuring the views of care leavers are heard at all levels – united in helping improve local services for children and young people in care.

Newly appointed ambassador Autumn Walsh said:

“I am delighted to become an Ambassador for Care Leavers.

“Becoming a care leaver was such a hard transition as it meant more responsibility and having to make difficult decisions.

“However, being a care leaver also lead to me becoming a Chair of CICC and achieving an apprenticeship, working with care leavers and children in care.

“I am now in my own place and would love to help other care leavers to get where they want to be.”

Councillor Steve Harrod, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services, said:

“The best way for us to provide first-class service and support for young people in care is to understand what they want, based on their experiences.

“As corporate parents, Oxfordshire County Council wants to be ambitious for all our care leavers. The test we set ourselves is: ‘would this be good enough for my own child?’.

“Ambassadors are young people who have themselves experienced living in care. I’m therefore confident they will create a common bond with those they listen to, building trust, understanding and a vison of how we can make the existing system even better.

“I’m delighted we’re able to announce the ambassador scheme during Care Leavers Week, a time when we celebrate our care leavers and their many achievements.”

Oxfordshire has 465 care leavers aged 18-25; and included in this number are 111 young adults who joined as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Care Leavers face big challenges as they move into adulthood and it is important support is available from many sources. Within Oxfordshire County Council, key partner agencies such as CiCC and OCLA help and encourage them to lead happy, successful, and independent lives.

A key success with partners in the last year is that Oxfordshire County Council and District Councils have agreed to exempt care leavers from Council Tax.

Get in touch

If you would like further details about the ambassador scheme, email james.collins@oxfordshire.gov.uk or phone 07803 287813.

If you would like to find out how to become a supported lodgings host for a young person in care, phone 01865 323128 or email supportedlodgings@oxfordshire.gov.uk