The Hackney promise to children in care

On Wednesday evening, councillors gathered in the Hackney Town Hall to sign the charter that outlines The Hackney promise to children in care, committing to continue to offer support and guidance to care leavers as they transition into adulthood. 

As corporate parents, all Council officers and members share a collective responsibility to ensure that care experienced children and young people who may have had disrupted experiences of family life get the support they need to live the happiest and healthiest lives possible. This includes responsibilities to:

  • Ensure that the support provided to care experienced children and young people is of the same quality we would expect for our own children;
  • Challenge the negative attitudes and prejudice that exist in relation to care experience children and young people in all aspects of society;
  • Act as champions for the needs of looked after children and care leavers in all spheres of influence;
  • Proactive seek out and listen to the voices of care experienced population when developing new Council policies. 

A Hackney care leaver is a young person aged between 18 and 25 who has been looked after by Hackney for more than 13 weeks after their 14th birthday, including some time after their 16th birthday. All Hackney care leavers are entitled to access support from the Children and Families Leaving Care service, and they are proactively encouraged to engage with this support if and when they feel they need it. 

As of December 2023, the Hackney Leaving Care Service was actively providing support to 364 care leavers. In Hackney, in 2022-2023 68.6% of care leavers were in education, training and employment, compared to statistical neighbours the year before at 55%. 16.7% were in higher education, compared to statistical neighbours the year before at 8%.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care

We are incredibly proud of the achievements of our care leavers, many of whom have had to overcome experiences of trauma, abuse or neglect. We know that many care experienced young people overcome incredible challenges, which can make it difficult to take part in education, training and employment, or to maintain interpersonal relationships.

We believe that our corporate parenting duties do not end once a young person reaches a certain age, and we as councillors need to continue to do everything in our power to support our care leavers as they begin their independent journey into adulthood. This is part of our 2022 manifesto commitment that set out our promise to ensure that we have a solid leaving care plan for our young people, codesigned with them to best respond to their specific needs and concerns.

Last week, I had one of our Care Leaver Advisors, China, join me for a days' shadowing. The Speaker of Hackney, Councillor Anya Sizer, is keen to talk to members of Hackney of Tomorrow about women's voices in politics, and we are hoping to organise for the Deputy Speaker, Councillor Sheila Suso-Runge, to host a group of our unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, to talk to them about the heritage of the borough. Councillor Sem Moema has also offered to organise work experience in the Greater London Assembly. 

Others Councillors have committed their support to our care leavers, offering shadowing and being an independent visitor. I am sure other colleagues will want to join and offer their practical help to the young people leaving our care, and I would like to thank them in advance for giving their time and expertise for such a worthy cause.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care

To actively demonstrate their commitment to the shared corporate parenting responsibilities, councillors are invited to make a personal pledge and offer of support to Hackney’s care leavers, by:

  • volunteering as an Independent Visitor for a looked after child;
  • offering to donate a unique opportunity or experience to a care experienced child or young person;
  • making an offer of work experience or shadowing, or work-related mentoring, to a care experienced child or young person.

As part of the approach that looks at co-creating the offer for children in care and care leavers, young people can have their say and come up with new ideas on how to change and improve the services that aim to support them, as part of the Hackney of Tomorrow Children in Care Council.