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Published on Tuesday, 20th February 2018 in Fostering, adopting and looked after children news

Rotherhamís looked after children say they will not be made to feel like rubbish and the Council is backing them.

Around 30 of Rotherham’s looked after children are leading a campaign to stop the practice of children’s personal belongings being transported in black bin liners between foster placements.

The children, all members of Rotherham Council’s Looked After Children’s Council (LACC), have taken their campaign to council chiefs and the Corporate Parenting Panel.

The panel has given its assurance that the practice will stop and the Council’s Children and Young People’s Service has adopted a new policy that prohibits the use of bin liners for moving personal belongings.

One member of the LACC, Kaylan, aged 12 said: “We told them that when our precious things are treated without respect that makes us feel like rubbish. They told us straight away it would be stopped. We now want to help other looked after children across the country to get bin liners banned.”

Another child, Chelsea, aged 11, said: “When I came into care they told me to put my clothes and my photos in a black plastic bag. I really thought they were going to throw them away.

Kaylan added: “We want our success in Rotherham to help change things for all looked after children locally, regionally and nationally.”

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “No child should ever have to feel like this. Well done to the children and young people from the LACC for making us aware of this.

"I hope we can repay their courage by taking their lead and raising awareness of this sort of practice not just here but across the country. It needs to be stopped for the sake of these young children, whose experiences are traumatic and stressful enough without being thoughtlessly added to.

"We have a duty of care as corporate parents to our looked after children and if we wouldn’t do this for our own children we need to ensure we wouldn’t do this for looked after children.”

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services added: “This is a direct example of the Rotherham Family Approach in action, which Ofsted gave us praise for in their recent report.

"Our mantra here, like Cllr Watson said, is that if this is not good enough for our children then it isn’t good enough for any of Rotherham’s children.

“We will provide a new suitcase to every child who needs one when they come into care or when they move to a new placement. We respect their precious things and we care about our looked after children.”

On Friday (16 Feb) the LACC joined forces with fashion and film students from Rotherham College of Arts and Technology (RCAT) to celebrate the victory with a fashion show where all of the outfits were made from bin liners.

The LACC has now shared its campaign at the Children in Care Councils’ regional meeting at Leeds University and nationally through the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield.

They have also been supported by national social enterprise outfit Madlug (Making a Difference Luggage), who have supplied the Council with 150 bags and suitcases.

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