Breaking The Silence: World’s First Children’s App gives Young People a Voice

16th February 2024
• Vincent Polland, Social Worker with a young person using the app

On this Care Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the experiences of children and young people in care, the South Eastern Trust has invested  in a ‘world first’ innovative children’s app co-designed by children and young people in partnership with Mind of My Own.

The Mind of My Own app provides a platform where children and young people can express their thoughts, feelings and preferences regarding the care and support they receive and allows them to share their concerns, worries and successes about various aspects of their lives, including their experiences within the care system. The app uses child-focused language and is designed to encourage children and young people to share their thoughts and information in a confidential environment whenever and wherever they want to.  It also helps practitioners to regularly monitor the child or young person’s wellbeing.  At the click of a button, inbuilt safeguarding features alert the services to which children are reporting feeling unsafe or unhappy where they live. The apps are available in over 130 languages and have enhanced accessibility features including text-to-speech.

A young person who is currently in care in the Trust found the app to be of great benefit and said, “I found the app really easy to use and to communicate my views for my recent Looked After Child Review.

“I felt my voice was heard during the meeting as it was the first thing the Chair of the Review referred to.  I get nervous sometimes at the review meetings.  I  haven’t always been able to say what I wanted to.”

Highlighting the Trust’s ongoing commitment to improving the lives of children and young people in care, Head of Service, David Hamilton stated, “The Trust Leaving Care After Care service is committed to ensuring that the voices of young people in and leaving care are central to our service. Building on this commitment, the service has partnered with Mind of My Own to improve how we do this by offering direct engagement between children and young people and their Social Work teams via an app.

“This innovative app will provide additional opportunities for children and young people to make their voices heard in real time and contribute to how we deliver and develop our services. We look forward to continuing to work with children and young people to improve our services, ensuring their voices are central and at the heart of everything we do.”

Mind Of My Own Director, Jill Thorburn added: “It is fantastic to be working with the South Eastern Trust to bring Mind Of My Own to the children and young people they support. We are driven by our vision of ensuring our digital products drive best practice, so we cannot wait to start seeing how we can help children and young people using Children’s Services in the area make a real difference in their lives. Placing children’s voices at the heart of services is a real driver for positive change.”

Evidence from those already using the Mind Of My Own app shows it has enabled children to significantly influence changes to the services they receive and when necessary, report instances of abuse as they feel comfortable and safe communicating in this way.