17 November 2021
“We have seen lots of benefits of having the information available for our care leavers, but also for other professionals that support and engage with care leavers. It helps us be clear on what is offered, who to contact and so we can ensure that we can work better together to achieve positive outcomes for our children and young people”
Looked After and Leaving Care, Nottinghamshire County Council
“I downloaded it with my PA, and it has lots of information there. I think it will be useful when I am looking for work opportunities."
Nottinghamshire County Council compromises seven district councils and started their Care Leavers App journey in February 2020. As of October 2021, Nottinghamshire have:
- 300 young people who are care leavers,
- 250 16–17 year old’s who are looked after, and transitioning to Leaving Care at 18,
- 435 21Plus young people,
- A return rate of 70-80% of their 21Plus young people,
- A contact rate of 98% of all their Care Leavers.
The team at Nottinghamshire launched their Care Leavers App at the same time as their Local Offer website, they wanted to ensure their Care Leavers had as many ways as possible to access their Local Offer, services, and events.
Nottinghamshire found that incorporating the Care Leavers App to contact their leaving care services, they were able to offer both easier access to communication, but also encourage their young people to make use of the local offer, support that is offered and to continue to act as a corporate parent to their children beyond their transition to adulthood.
They initially thought that it would be a concern that anyone could download and view the App. However, by embracing this and understanding the other uses the Notts Next Steps App could have with their partner agencies as a reference resource, this has again encouraged inter-agency working. This includes contact from organisations to see if young people are accessing or able to access support and has therefore assisted young people who are identified as care leavers in Nottinghamshire.
One of the benefits the team have seen with their app is access to information and keeping in touch with their care leavers. This was proven especially positive throughout the pandemic as they needed to explore alternative ways to keep in touch and have communication with their young people.
Moving forward the app will be used to identify the ever-changing and growing opportunities around employment, education and training as well as encouraging participation from young people.
As part of their Achievement Offer for young people aged 17-18, the team hold online sessions with Nottingham Trent University, to help those who are thinking about Higher Education within a university setting. By advertising the sessions, dates and information in the app, Nottinghamshire’s young people can look at these events in their own time and do not have to be connected to the internet whilst browsing. Young people are then able to contact their Achievement Advisor to be included in the session.
Nottinghamshire County Council are looking at increasing the amount of information around education, employment and training opportunities for young people and updating the app at least weekly with information and offers.