Children and Young People’s Participation

The vision

‘Dudley is a Borough where in co-production with children and young people their rights are realised, and their views shape decisions that are made about their lives and those of their families’

Voice and Influence Strategy

There is a strong commitment in Dudley Children’s Services to the active involvement of children and young people.

We support young people to make sure that they are heard on the issues that they feel are important and that their views are taken in to account by decision makers.

Through this process they will be able to develop their personal and social skills and identify how they are able to achieve more positive outcomes as active citizens.

Time to Talk Podcast

In a bid to strengthen and develop the work we do with our young people in Dudley members of both the Children in Care and Care Leavers Council have undertaken Podcast Training.  We have decided upon having two streams of Podcasts to share; the first of these will be called ‘Time to Talk Podcast’ which will consist of members of the Children in Care Council and Care Leavers Forum holding recorded conversations about topics they find important. The second podcast will be called ‘A Conversation With…Podcast’ and will provide a platform for our care leavers to share their journeys or give them the opportunity to interview special guests who have helpful advice to share with our young people.
Listen to the podcast here:

Dear Social Worker,

We like it when you...



                     An Interview with An Amazing Child!

                                                    As part of Dudley’s Practice Week, we interviewed one                                                      of our amazing young people about their care                                                                 experience and asked about their hopes for the future.





The young person was interviewed by her Social Worker, Amy Williams and there are many powerful points to reflect on.


Please take 5 minutes to watch the video and…


Hear My Story, Hear My Voice!

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                                                    Hear My Story, Hear My Voice - Comic Strip - Messages From Our Children in Care Council 

For Dudley’s Practice Week 2020, we wanted to make sure that the voice of the child was clearly captured and shared with you all.

To achieve this, we asked some of our amazing young people, who are part of the Dudley Children in Care Council,

about their journey and experiences through care.


Our questions were inspired by the ’Dear Social Worker’ project, completed by the Children in Care Council.

‘Hear my story, hear my voice’ contains messages from our very own children in care council, telling us about their experiences

of their personal journeys in care.


It’s taken a lot of courage, and the messages shared have been very powerful.


We want to make some assurances to our children in care about the service we aim to

provide for them, and this will help inform Dudley’s pledge to its children and young people.

If we are to ensure that children are first and in the heart of all we do, then hearing

what they have to say is a good place to start...

Following on from the ‘Hear My Story, Hear My Voice’ comic released in December’s Practice Week, we have once again collaborated with Dudley’s Children in Care Council to continue the story and create the ‘Ubuntu’ comic for Dudley's Practice Week 2021.  This time we have asked the children and young people about their hopes for the future, their identity and how ‘being in care’ impacts upon them.  We have also explored how other people’s views and behaviours towards them have impacted upon their confidence and self-esteem.  The comic is also available to be viewed in video form.

Hear my story, hear my voice comic strip
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Always Heard

As we continue to face the challenges and restrictions of lock down, we want you to know the Always Heard helpline service continues to remain open and is delivering the same level of support as always.

The helpline is free and available to all children in care, care leavers or the adults referring them, that live in England. They can answer any questions about the services children are entitled to and offer information on how to get an advocate who will help to guide them through the social care system.

We feel that now it is more important than ever to ensure that children and young people in care and care leavers can easily and quickly get an Advocate. We want to ensure that they can still rely on the helpline as the place where their voice is Always Heard.


Always Heard's - AdvoCat

Helping Children to Understand and Access Advocacy

As a leading children’s charity for young people in and around care, Coram Voice know that children under-12 often don’t know what an Advocate is, the benefits of one, that they are entitled to the support from one and how to get one.



To tackle this problem, they created AdvoCat, who is here to help.

They worked with children under-12 to develop AdvoCat - a cartoon character who:


  • Helps us engage and speak to children.

  • Explains to children what advocacy is and the benefits of an Advocate.

  • Breaks down the complexity of the care system and what children might expect.


Children have said they love AdvoCat, who has been described as their superhero, helping them get their voices heard “loud and clear” on their journey through the care system.

Get involved


We feel it is now more important than ever that Looked After Children (LAC), Care Leavers and young people in and on the edges of care, can quickly and easily get an Advocate. We understand that at this time resources are being stretched and reduced, but Coram Voice and the Always Heard helpline remains OPEN, offering the same support and ready to provide advocacy.

Please help them support children and young people by:

  • Watching and sharing information about AdvoCat and the video feature on their website.


  • Using AdvoCat to help explain advocacy to young children and encourage them to contact Always Heard helpline free on 0808 8005792.


  • Following and taking part in conversations on social media using the hashtag #AdvoCat.


Dudley UK Youth Parliament Make Your Mark Results 2020

During autumn 2020 members of Dudley Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) promoted the ‘Make Your Mark’ survey across the Borough. This is part of a national consultation which aims to identify the key issues affecting young people aged 11-18 across the UK.


Schools across Dudley participated by allowing their pupils to vote online.


Dudley received 563 votes online and we would like to thank you for your support in making this happen because we know how difficult it was to contribute through the pandemic and allow young people’s voices to be heard.


The three UKYP National Issues voted for 2021 are:


  •        Free University - We should invest in the young people of today by providing free university. The alternative is that young people will suffer financial hardship and not reach their full potential. (Devolved topic)


  •        Support Our Mental Health - More money should be given for young people’s mental health. We should be offered mental health support in schools and ensure that teachers know about mental health. (Devolved topic)


  •        Take Action on the Climate Emergency: Stop Plastic Pollution - If we do not take action now, it is predicted that waste plastics will outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050. Let’s reduce single-use and non-essential plastics (UK wide topic)


The three UKYP Local Issues voted for 2021 are:


  • Homelessness

  • Domestic Violence

  • Access to training/jobs


Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information on the details below, we would enjoy receiving your continued support and hearing from you in the future.


Once again thank you for your support, enabling the young people of Dudley to have their voices heard.


Best wishes and kind regards,


Laiba Kiren and Jake Cartwright                                                        


Members of the Youth Parliament for Dudley

Dudley Council
3-5 St James Rd
Dudley DY1 1HZ

01384 815172 / 07827 83696


We’ve just updated the FREE STUFF section of IMO with some fantastic freebies, all exclusively available to children in care and care leavers in your area. Please share the site and these offers with members of your children in care council, care leavers in your area, and social workers, foster carers, etc.


Current ‘free stuff’ offers include:

  • Birchbox make-up and bracelet

  • Year-long subscription to Headspace meditation and mindfulness app

  • Goodies from Skinnydip London and Google

  • A free edition of The Week Junior Magazine

  • Premier League tickets




IMO is a new peer-led digital platform exclusively for children in care and care leavers. It has children’s voices at its heart, and all of its content has been created by or developed with input from children in care, for children in care.

The hub is regularly updated with new blogs, vlogs, podcasts, articles and campaigns. It also features a promotional section called ‘free stuff’, where we are giving away fantastic freebies and exclusive offers (including these tickets!) we have worked hard to secure from companies including Google and The V&A Museum, among others.

Please contact Darren Foley for further information 01384 815172.


How do you #definecare? A collaborative poem by care experienced people.

IMO invited care leavers from across the country to come together virtually during the lockdown to create a collaborative poem about how they define care. Here is the result!

Thank you to everyone who took part:

Alicia, Benjamin, Carla, Casey, Chloe, CPositivista, Danielle, David, Eleanor, Jai, Keeley, Kim, Nils, Paris, Ric, Rosie, Sophia, and Tychique.





The Fusion Project offers support and wellbeing services to young people from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) backgrounds, whilst another part of the project provides support and wellbeing services to young people who identify as LGBTQ+. The groups discuss a range of different topics and activities, which are related to mental health and wellbeing. Some of the group topics have included understanding anxiety, mindfulness and have even had creative workshops as part of our group sessions including a music workshop and creative cooking. A lot of ideas and topics for groups also come from group members themselves, we take suggestions on board and try to accommodate the best we can, an example of this is the music workshop which was actually a group members suggestion.

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The Big Ask the largest ever survey of children and young people anywhere in the world!

Please click on the reports below, summarising the results of the 'The Big Ask' a survey carried out by the Children's Commissioner for England with over 557, 077 responses from children in England aged 4-17. 

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The Big Ask Childrens Report 2021
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The Big Ask - Childrens Report

The Big Ask - Adults Report

Children in Care Council

For more information please contact:

Amanda Grove (Lead for Youth and Community) 01384 818145 / 07900 161563

Darren Foley (Participation Officer - Children Looked After and Care Leavers) 01384 815172 / 07827 836969

Make A Difference and Our Say Our Way

Project Update Report by 
Emerson Hanslip, Youth Commissioners,
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Useful Links

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