Freephone 0800 234 6282

Care-experienced young people lead digital safety work

St Christopher’s is taking part in a new initiative that promotes online safety for children in foster care.

The funding provided by Nominet aims to meet the challenge of “elevating young people’s voices to influence the services that impact on their digital safety and opportunities”.

Our project, Online Safety in Fostering, draws from the experiences of young people who live with or lived with our foster families in both the Eastern Region and West Midlands. Young people said that they need to experience the digital space safely, with guidance to equip them to recognise and manage risky situations they may encounter online as they grow up.

The project aims to:

  • Bring together young people, staff and foster carers to review St Christopher’s fostering policies and procedures for online safety so we can develop relevant, transparent documents and practice
  • Support young people to lead design workshops in paid, part-time critical friend roles
  • Co-produce a ‘what works guide’ with young people and our fostering teams
  • Support young people to develop online skills and safe, natural adolescent development of identity in the digital space
  • Enrich fostering practice and decision-making to reflect the complexity of young people’s needs
  • Increase the effectiveness of safeguarding by helping young people and their foster families to better understand each other’s decision making, supporting less risky choices and better information sharing
  • Inform training needs from young people’s perspectives to ensure practice is engaging and balanced to meet their wellbeing needs, as well as legal safeguarding requirements

By closely listening to young people’s lived experience, the project will enable a better understanding of their needs and identify what foster carers can do to help them.

Director of Income and Development, Geneva Ellis, said: “We are delighted to be able to run this project with the support of Nominet. Ensuring young people’s voices and expertise are at the heart of everything we do is an essential part of our approach to care, so we are excited to see how this project develops and what we can learn about keeping young people safe online.”