Norfolk youngsters to make their voices heard on national care issues at Westminster

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Young people with experience of living in care in Norfolk will have their say on the national care system at the Houses of Parliament next week as they meet with MPs.

Members of the Norfolk In Care Council (NICC), a group of 107 youngsters aged between 7 and 24, will be meeting the All-Party Parliamentary Group for vulnerable children on Wednesday (5 June) at Portcullis House. The group is being chaired by Ed Timpson, Under Secretary of State for the Department of Education.

Three members of the NICC will be attending the meeting and using their first-hand experience to raise suggestions on how the national care system can be improved and answering questions on the positive work they have been involved with in Norfolk.

NICC was set up in 2009 and is made up of 107 children and young people with experiences of living in care who meet regularly and work together with Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services department to shape and develop services.

Nineteen-year-old Shaunna Warren, a member of NICC who will be talking to the All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: “We are really pleased to get the opportunity to visit London and speak with Ed Timpson and other politicians.

“We do a lot of good work here in Norfolk for Children’s Services to try and improve the experiences of all children and young people in care in Norfolk but some things can only be changed nationally and this is our chance to have our voices heard by the government.”

James Joyce, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding Children at Norfolk County Council, said: “It’s great news that children in care from Norfolk will be able to give their valuable opinions to ministers on the future provision of nationally legislated parts of the care system and provide feedback about some of the hard work they put in to improve the care system here in Norfolk.

“Norfolk In Care Council are nationally renowned for the superb work they do and I’ve no doubt that they will do an excellent job in representing themselves and our county at Westminster.”

Irene Kerry, Corporate Parenting User Involvement Officer at Norfolk County Council, said: “The Norfolk In Care Council has worked in partnership with Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services on a number of issues, including the recruitment and training of staff, being part of commissioning panels, and the auditing, development and improvement of services they receive.

“This is an ideal opportunity for them to showcase the work they have achieved here in Norfolk with the continuous support of Children’s Services and county councillors and to have the opinions of looked after children in Norfolk heard on the national issues that affect them.”

If you have experience of living in care and would like to join the Norfolk In Care Council, know someone who might be interested in joining or wish to find out more about the NICC and how it works, you can email nicc@norfolk.gov.uk or call 01603 679344.