This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and Torbay Children’s Services are proud to share some of the valuable work happening across the Bay supporting some of the most vulnerable young members of our community.

The challenges of school closures, disruption and isolation throughout the pandemic have impacted on the mental health of many children and young people. Nationally, in the last three years, the likelihood of young people having mental health problems has increased by 50% and Torbay is no exception.

58% of care experienced young people across Torbay told us through joint work we did with CORAM VOICE in April 2021, that a number were more likely to report feeling lonely ‘often or always’ (19%); 22% of care experienced young people found it hard to feel proud, 21% found it hard to feel optimistic and about a third of respondents reported high levels of anxiety. However, although this is concerning there were a lot of positive responses with 99% of our care experienced young people who responded telling us that they have someone in their lives who they could turn to for emotional support, and 90% of those who responded trusted their Personal Advisor.

We are working with Family Action Listening Works to enable our young people to have access to an out of hours helpline for care experienced young people, who may be feeling lonely, scared, angry, or isolated, and to provide immediate emotional support when they need it.

Torbay Children’s Services have also introduced an Act of Kindness and Celebrating Achievement nomination scheme, to help cared for and care experienced young people celebrate and recognise those smaller acts of kindness for moments in which they should feel proud.

In addition, Torbay Children’s Services have continued to keep in touch with our cared for children and cared experienced adults through regular communication, by letter, email, and other forms of social media; this includes the postcard sent to children, families and carers, and a letter sent to all of our cared experienced adults, signposting them to mental health resources.

Cllr Cordelia Law, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Torbay Council, said; “Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people plays an intrinsic role as we continue on our journey to become a more “Child Friendly Torbay.” We work closely with members of our cared for community to ensure we have a joined-up approach when it comes to supporting every child’s needs.” 

Torbay Children’s Services are currently looking for a wide range of new foster carers to join our Torbay fostering family network and care for local, vulnerable children who are unable to live with their birth families. Torbay foster carers are financially supported with an allowance to meet the needs of the foster child and receive training and ongoing support from a dedicated fostering Social Worker and an experienced foster carer as a mentor. 

This is the perfect time to make a positive life change with child fostering if you are considering a new work/life balance. If you have flexible working hours, a spare room, and a kind heart, you could become a Torbay foster carer. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch contact the Fostering Team.

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