Urgent action: call your Assembly Member to give fostered young people a chance to stay

Posted by Rhea Stevens / Friday 24 January 2014 / Chance to stay Children in care

In just over a week, Assembly Members in Wales will vote on whether young people in foster care should have the right to stay until 21.

We’ve proved why young people should have the chance to stay. Fostered young people in England and Scotland have been given the opportunity so why not in Wales?

We need your help to make sure every Assembly Members knows why giving young people a chance to stay is so important.

Can you call your Assembly Members to tell them?

Here’s our quick and easy how to guide:

1. Find the number

AMs’ phone numbers are really easy to find out. Just head to the Assembly’s website and enter your postcode.

Everyone in Wales has five Assembly Members, and we’d love for you to speak to as many as possible. Click on each name and you’ll be given their telephone numbers.

2. Call

Usually, the Assembly Member’s assistant or secretary will pick up the phone. Just explain that you would like to speak to your Assembly Member about foster care, and ask if they are free to speak. If not, simply ask for a time in the next few days when you can speak for five minutes.

It’s really important these conversations happen before Tuesday February 4th so that Assembly Members have a chance to do something. Simply point out that you need to speak with them before they debate and vote on this because it’s really important to you.

3. Tell them why you care

Assembly Members are really busy people, so it’s important to be clear why you’re calling and what you want them to do.

Explain why you care about young people being able to leave foster care when they’re ready. You don’t need to be an expert; you simply need to let the people who are elected and paid to represent you in Wales know that this matters to you.

You could mention that young people in England and Scotland have been given the chance to stay until 21.

A change to the rules has been suggested, but it’s not strong enough and councils in Wales don’t have to give them this chance. It will cost money, but it’s an investment in children.

The next bit is explaining what you want them to do.

Ask them to talk to the Deputy Minister for Social Services about this on your behalf. That’s the person who makes the decisions about social services in Wales. This is quite a normal and easy thing to ask them to do so don’t feel intimidated.

4. Stick to your guns

If your Assembly Member tells you they’ve already e-mailed you about this, or have spoken to someone about this already, thank them of course but make sure they understand you want them to do something new this week for you - to speak to the Deputy Minister for Social Services about this on your behalf.

If they are keen to get off the phone, don’t worry, just ask them what they are going to do to about this important issue you’ve raised.

You can email them this briefing so they have something to look at and can get in touch with us.

5. And relax

You’ll have done something that really helps young people in foster care, so thank you.

Please let us know how it went by dropping us an email at campaigns@actionforchildren.org.uk. If you have any questions, send them here too.

Good luck.

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