Social Connections Service - video transcript

Title card: Social Connections Service

Various people are sitting outside talking.

Young woman 1: "Life moves on and you don't always keep the same connections."

Young man: "There is a lot that we don't know, like within our family and like connections and stuff."

Narrator: "The Social Connection Services is provided by Kent County Council and delivers family group conferencing and lifelong links with the aim of empowering families and young people to take control of their lives."

Clare Barton, team manager: "There's lots of young people as they get older start returning to family and we want to strengthen their foster placements but at the same time fulfil their need to know who their family is and have connection to their family."

Video shows paper where people have drawn out family members and how they link together.

Narrator: "The Lifelong Links service is helping young people to identify the important people in their lives. They are able to develop their personal relationships and remain connected to the links that offer a sense of stability and identity."

Title card: Will's story. Lived experience of Lifelong Links.

Will is sitting at a table talking.

Will: "The second I would have turned 18, the first thing I would have done is because I get all the sheets with contacts and everything that's given to me by social services. I'll just go looking, go on Facebook and just start rummaging around, start looking, finding people."

Title card: Lifelong links co-ordinator Lisa helped Will to find his family.

Will: "I was led to believe my mum was a horrible person, but she's actually not and never was, and I've never known anything about my dad, I was led to believe he wasn't even alive and then for Lisa to come back to me and say well, we've got your mum and then two weeks later we found your dad. I'm like sitting there like ****, so that was a little bit of a shock to the system."

Title card: Lifelong Links has helped Will develop better relationships with his mum and meet his dad for the first time in 11 years.

Will: "It's just good to have, to know your parents are around again."

Clare Barton, team manager: "Obviously, a lot of young people will do this themselves if we don't do it with them. There's social media, there's Facebook, all sorts of ways that they can contact family, and so we need to counter this and do it safely in a protected environment before they leave care."

Video shows young people outside taking part in Lifelong Links session.

Young woman 2: "I did lose my relationship with my brothers when I did come into care."

Sam Colleran, Coordinator: "The best that can happen, is we open up a whole new support system, social connections, for young people."

Young woman 1: "Quite a lot of us, would move in care or leave care and we don't know anything about our family and might have a different conception about what relationships were like when we came into care."

Sam Colleran, Coordinator: "Every young person and every family is different, they're individuals and we can't put them in a box, we have to treat them as such and work with them. I think it's really important for young people to feel that they've got those social connections around them."

Steve Hollands, Social Worker: "As professionals we're very good at providing professional networks to children, young people that we work with, but actually our time with those young people is limited and there will be a time when we actually leave. It's very much about how we support young people to develop their own networks, whether that's through to immediate family, extended family or other connected people that might be really important to them."

Title card: Family Group Conferencing

Narrator: "Family Group Conferencing provides a safe family led space for families to come together and take control of the decisions that affect them. Centrally, this is private family time, but professionals can mediate and offer advice and support with the goal of providing families, the tools they need to move forward on their own."

Title card: Tori's story, Lived experience of Family Group Conferencing

Tori is sitting at a table talking about her experiences.

Tori: "I've only ever wanted the best for my daughter and actually I would have just thought they would have been better off without me and I know always in the back of my mind that's never true."

Title card: Tori is contacted by Louise the  Family Group Conference Coordinator.

Tori: "Louise is like let me come, let me come and meet you, but I sort of was very reluctant because I knew from the off that a certain couple of family members had already made up their mind."

Title card: Tori and her family took part in a Family Group Conference to plan for her daughter.

Tori: "I was very lucky I got a really amazing person who built rapport, could see me as a person and it was all focused on us and although she listened to my family, it was really about regrouping me and my daughter as a family and the best outcomes for us. I just really promote this service, because you can still, as I say, get the outcomes for the young person and for the child and actually for the other family members. There's nothing to lose from using this service really, there's only anything to gain, so yes, it kind of really gave me back my life."

Narrator: "Family Group Conferencing can be beneficial in bringing together foster parents, birth parents and professionals to talk about a young person finding it difficult to adapt to a care placement. It can also be used prenatally to help parents and professionals plan for the future care of an unborn child."

Steve Hollands, Social Worker: "Every child will benefit from a strong network, we all have them and that's what we should be striving for."

Title card: Together we can make stronger connections.