New app helps young people communicate with social care

Published Thursday, 22nd August 2019

Mind of my Own logo

A new app designed to help young people express how they are feeling has been launched by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

The Mind of My Own app is designed as a communication tool to be used between children and young people in care, and the children’s services team.

It gives older children the freedom and flexibility to use emoji’s and texts at any time of the day or night, to reveal how they feel about their foster placement, school issues, and even their case worker. The app can also be used by younger children with their social worker as a way of discussing topics, highlighting positives and confronting possible issues.

Mind of My Own produces a report which feeds back to the social care team to be included in the child’s file. In time, a version of the app designed for young people and adults with learning disabilities will also be available.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “I think the more ways in which we can give vulnerable children a voice, the better. As well as expressing how they are feeling, the app gives older children the ability to prepare for social worker visits or develop their plans for when they leave care. While younger children, or those with learning disabilities, can use the app with their social worker to express what is important to them, or what makes them happy or sad.

“The fact that the information is fed back to the social care team as a report gives young people the knowledge that their views, wishes and feelings are being listened to. Children can also use the “share my good news” icon within the app to record their achievements, using the app in a positive way to interact with the social care team.

“This is a great way in which our children’s services team will be able to extend their good work and make sure we are doing all we can to provide the best possible care to those children in our care.”

The PDF reports generated by the app feeds into the child’s case file and Education Health Care (EHC) plans. No information is stored on the app or device and it has very strict adherence to GDPR and safeguarding legislation. The app is completely secure and has been designed to ensure it supports the safeguarding of children. It is already in use in other local authorities across England and Scotland.

Other benefits include:

  • evidence that the voice of the child is being heard and their views
  • it’s quicker than email and easier than a phonecall
  • evidence of improving the quality of direct work
  • it’s safe for children to report abuse and has been proven to lead to earlier reporting of issues
  • reporting paperwork
  • accessibility – the app works on most devices, tablets, or phones.

The app has launched and is available for young people in or outside of care to use now. You can find out more about Mind of My Own on their website and view Callie explain as a Mind of My Own case study, how the app helped her communicate with her social worker.