Action for Children introduces digital app to support children in care

By agency reporter
April 16, 2019

Hundreds of looked after children supported by Action for Children are to be given access to unique app technology from Mind of My Own which encourages them to share worries and concerns, directly with their social workers.

Action for Children is the first UK-wide charity to invest in the pioneering technology which has been co-designed with children and young people.

The Mind of My Own apps use child-focused language and design to encourage young people to share their thoughts from a tablet or phone screen. The technology is a world-first as it enables children to share information confidentially, directly to their social workers about how safe and how happy they are feeling so they can assess their wellbeing more regularly.

Following a successful pilot in Bolton Children’s Rights Services last year, Action for Children is now rolling out the use of Mind of My Own to fostering services UK-wide as well as select residential services in Wales. It is estimated that up to 1000 children and 200 Action for Children workers will be using the apps by the end of the year.

Action for Children’s National Director, John Egan said: “We’re constantly seeking to find new ways to support and communicate with vulnerable children and young people, especially those who we look after. Tech can get a bad press however, we’ve found that Mind of My Own provides safe and effective ways for children in care to powerfully use their voice and share experiences with our staff and others who work with them outside formal meetings.

“Feedback so far has been hugely positive and our staff are finding the communication invaluable. Children who have sometimes struggled to discuss difficult issues are now using the app to start a conversation. The apps will complement, not replace, our face-to-face work.

“At Action for Children, we hope to use the Mind of My Own data to track themes and issues which will help us develop and adapt our services to the needs of the children and young people who need us most.”

Evidence from the Action for Children pilot has shown that children and young people are using the app as an alternative way to vocalise problems and acknowledge good things in their life to celebrate.

A young person who is currently using the Mind of My Own app, says: “It’s brilliant as it helps you say the things that you want to say without being afraid. I can tell people what I want and when, so it helps them to understand my point [of] view and what’s really going on in my life.”

Cara Holden, Mind of My Own App Development Worker at Action for Children, adds: “Every time a professional makes a decision about one of the children or young people, they need to be sure they’ve considered and evidenced their views.  Mind of My Own makes this process quicker and easier. Young people tell us they like using it – it doesn’t require any face-to-face ‘difficult’ conversations and is something they can use regularly.”

Speaking about the new partnership, Mind of My Own director Jill Thorburn, says: “It’s fantastic to be working with such an established and forward-thinking organisation as Action for Children to help the children and young people they support. We’re driven by our vision of ensuring all children’s voices are heard. Staff can’t always be there 24/7, but Mind of My Own can. Our apps enable children and young people to say what they want, when they want to and in a way that suits them, giving their workers rich, authentic information to work with.”

Mind of My Own products are safe, private and secure and have ISO27001 certification for their high level of information security.

* Action for Children https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/

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