Somerset Care Council Leads The Way

Children in care and children’s services staff at Somerset County Council have been praised for leading the way in implementing technology to get young voices heard. Organisation MOMO (Mind Of My Own) was set up to help children and young people have a say in the care they receive. It offers a blend of technology, social work and children’s rights expertise to create apps that children can use on their own or with a worker or carer for communication and planning purposes. Somerset County Council have been working with MOMO for several years now and encouraging the use of the app to allow children in care to feel understood, progress, and prepare for life after leaving care.

One foster child (and Somerset In Care Council member) explained why he finds the app invaluable: “MOMO has lots of different things that you can use such as ‘my worker is visiting’ ‘share my good news’ ‘get ready for a meeting’ ‘change something’ ‘planning for adulthood’ and a few others.

Young people should use MOMO because they can get things off their chest when it’s troubling them, for instance if the young person has a problem at 3am and they can’t sleep, they can send a MOMO message to their worker and it won’t reach their worker until they check their emails in the morning. The worker should reply within 3 working days, so the young person knows the matter is being dealt with and they can sleep soundly at night.”

Momo will help you prepare for meetings, express your views, wishes and feelings to people like your social worker, IRO, advocate or leaving care worker. It will give you a choice to save, send, or print what you’ve written. What you say to MOMO is kept confidential within the app. You choose which workers to send your MOMO statements to. You can set up your own account and password. No personal data is stored on your device or computer.”

Somerset County Council children in care have been highly praised for their pioneering attitude and embracing of this technology to get young voices in care heard. |Some young people have even become ‘MOMO champions, to deliver training to workers and talk to children one on one about the benefits of using the apps available. Hunter Jones from MOMO said: “When it comes to care councils encouraging the use of MOMO, Somerset are currently leading the way. Somerset Leaving Care Council (SLCC) and Somerset In Care Council (SICC) have played a crucial role in their recent implementation.

“Somerset is in the top ten per cent of organisations who have received the most MOMO documents expressing children’s views and feelings. The MOMO team would like to say a huge well done to Somerset Children’s Services and, in particular, SICC and SLCC. Keep up the great work.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said: “Our In Care and Leaving Care Councils are incredible young people who are passionate and open to new ideas. They commit many hours of their time to projects helping others in care and in the wider community. MOMO forms a valid part of this, giving children and young people a say in the care they receive. Our dedicated team in Children services have also fully embraced MOMO and are passionate about helping children in care be heard.”

You could make a huge difference to a Somerset child in care as a Foster Carer – Visit www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, phone 0800 587 9900, ‘like’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page or follow @fostersomerset on Twitter.

Or come along to Fostering in Somerset’s next information event on Wednesday 20 September at Costa Coffee Yeovil, 7pm to 9pm BA20 1LE. Those who attend will get a free Costa coffee and cake.