A NEW strategy has been launched which will give more support to looked-after youngsters in South Craven.

The initiative – We care because you matter – aims to help children and young people achieve their aspirations.

The blueprint – which will be implemented across North Yorkshire – was drawn-up in conjunction with youngsters themselves, care leavers, carers and support staff.

County council bosses will work with district councils on the scheme, which is being celebrated with a series of events.

The strategy outlines the authorities’ joint role as ‘corporate parents’ and examines how they will deliver corporate parenting principles set out in the new Children and Social Work Act.

Objectives include that children and young people in care should have the necessary information and support to stay healthy, the opportunity to pursue hobbies and interests, be listened to and to share quality time with adults.

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, executive member for children’s and young people’s services, said: “Our vision is that children in care and care leavers should have the very best start in life with the same opportunities, support and outcomes as other children.

“We are committed to ensuring our duties towards them are carried out to the highest possible standard, to meet individual needs.”

She added: “We want children and young people in care to benefit from the services and support on offer in North Yorkshire, so we’re working alongside our district colleagues and partners with a commitment to opening up access to the facilities they provide. This will include things like access to leisure centres and priority housing support.

“Also, we want to provide practical help at a local level for young people going into the world of work.

“Our priorities for the next 12 months also include providing work experience opportunities and a guaranteed interview for care leavers with the minimum qualifications for an apprenticeship or graduate scheme.

“We’ll be working with many partners alongside our district council colleagues to deliver the principles of ‘We care because you matter’ – including schools, the safeguarding board, foster carers and adopters, North Yorkshire Police, the health and wellbeing board and the youth justice service.

“The county council is known across the UK for good practice in its work with looked-after young people, and was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted this summer.

“Through the strategy, we will work with partners to turn pledges into action and to develop focused, practical support for children in care and care leavers."

Further information about the strategy can be found at northyorksg.gov.uk/wecare, where copies can also be viewed.