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Children in care app launched in Kent

PUBLISHED: 10:32 08 November 2018

Kent County Council has launched an app for children in care. Photo: LDRS

Kent County Council has launched an app for children in care. Photo: LDRS

Archant

A secure app for children in care to communicate with their social workers is being launched in Kent.

As part of the scheme, staff at Kent County Council are being given iPhones and tablets to communicate with vulnerable children and young people in their care.

The MOMO (Mind of My Own) app has been used by more than 60 other councils as a way to gauge the opinions of children under their care.

Through the communication tool, children can provide feedback on their care plan and their placement privately.

A child can also use the app to tell the specialist children’s services if they feel unsafe or unhappy.

A social worker in Dover told the council: “I have used MOMO on one occasion when a young person contacted me to let me know he was feeling unhappy and low.

“We were then able to arrange a meeting and as a result he is now open to CAMHS (child and adolescent mmental health services) for a full assessment.

“I genuinely believe this young person would not have contacted me without the MOMO app.”

MOMO has been trialled in north Kent with 79 children and young people having already shared their experiences.

An adapted version for children with special educational needs and infants has also been launched which includes expressive pictures, minimal text and additional sounds.

Yet these unique apps have been used mostly to share “some good news, plan for a meeting or because their worker is due to visit them” by female 12 to 16 -year-olds.

Jo Carpenter, from the virtual school for children in care, told the corporate parenting panel on November 1: “On the whole, feedback across the county is really positive.

“We did have a few foster carers who worried about whether it was a tool for young people to say something bad about them.

“But the results are showing most of the young people are using it to share good news and say what happened at school – perhaps something they would forget to tell their social worker when it comes down to a review meeting.

However, in a report she added the app does have its limitations and take up from workers is not as popular as they would hope.

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