sixteen25 Launch UK’s First Self-Advocacy App for Children in and Leaving Care in Aid of National Care Leavers Week

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MOMO self advocacy app LAUNCHHere’s MOMO’s official launch press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY 28 OCTOBER

Mind Of My Own (MOMO) is a new self-advocacy app for young people in and leaving care, launched in aid of National Care Leavers Week 2013, at the Access All Areas Conference held in central London on Tuesday 28 October 2013.

Supports Self-advocacy for Young People

MOMO is available on smartphones and online for free, and is designed to promote self-advocacy for young people, enabling them to be in control and at forefront of their care. A cross-sector team of advocates, young people and digital designers have created the app, led by young people’s social enterprise sixteen25 and funded through the Nominet Trust Digital Edge Programme. Over a six month design period the team worked alongside 14 young testers in Bexley and Surrey to help produce an app which allows their voices and those of the rest of 91,000 looked after children in the UK to be heard and influence the services they receive.

Helps Advocacy and Social Care Services

As advocacy services and social care budgets become increasingly limited, time is reduced and access to services is often difficult. MOMO enables young people to express their views, wishes and feelings to their care team in a structured format, helping increase service effectiveness and give the young user a sense of control over a situation and their wider care plan.

Guided by a series of questions and prompts, young people using the app can prepare for a review, get something changed or build a complaint through a well presented format enabled by the app. The app increases young people’s participation in reviews and improves their engagement with care staff. It makes it easier for hard to reach groups to access advocacy services and helps all services for young people to deliver improved outputs and better outcomes.

Ambitious

MOMO is an ambitious way to improve young people’s involvement and access to services, and their ability to self-advocate. Tuesday’s launch also marks the start of a process towards more accepted and widespread use of digital technology in the social care sector.

Quotes

Yvonne Anderson, Director, sixteen25, says “With widespread cuts to advocacy and social care budgets it’s never been more important to provide children and young people who are looked after or leaving care with resources they can easily use to engage with services. The MOMO app enables young people to have their say in an accessible, simple and effective way.“

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, says, ‘It is so important for young people to have a voice in their own care and treatment. MOMO challenges the balance of power between young people and professionals, using digital technology to increase young people’s agency and engagement. Nominet Trust is delighted to support MOMO as an outstanding example of the potential of digital technology to widen access and deepen engagement by traditionally hard-to-reach groups.’

For more information, visit: http://mindofmyown.org.uk

-Ends-

Press Contacts

Joe Roberson, Project Lead

07834 364 205

joe@mindofmyown.org.uk

Annabelle Davis, Project Lead

07506 726 880

annabelle@mindofmyown.org.uk

 

Full Press Pack

http://mindofmyown.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Press-Pack-Mind-Of-My-Own-Launch-291013.docx

Notes to Editor

About sixteen25

www.mindofmyown.org.uk

sixteen25 is a Community Interest Company set up in 2010 to develop innovative solutions to meeting the health and social care needs of vulnerable young people. Our aim is to transform their experience of being a young person so they become confident, empowered, and less service dependent, adults.

We want to bridge the gap between current practice in providing support to young people and their increasing use of digital technology to express their views. This involves challenging the balance of power between young people and professionals and revolutionising the way that they are involved in their own care and treatment.

About Nominet Trust

www.nominettrust.org.uk

Nominet Trust is the UK’s leading Tech for Good funder. The Trust believes in harnessing the power of digital technology to improve lives and communities.

A UK registered charity, Nominet Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to using digital technology to create social and economic value.

Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception, providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their reach and impact.

Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk internet infrastructure. Nominet has a strong public purpose and the Trust is one example of its commitment to creating a safer, accessible and diverse internet.

The Verdict From Bexley’s Care Leavers

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Bexley MOMO Young People and Becky GunnerSix months ago we began our journey with young people from Bexley and Surrey. We started making MOMO in paper, then moved to computers and now, with launch day upon us, we have an app that works on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. An app that has been guided every step of the way by the voice of young people, an app that aims to put young peoples voices at the heart of services.

Yesterday I met with four of the young people, and the two lead advocates who have been central to the development of MOMO in Bexley. I was eager to hear directly from them how they had found integrating and using MOMO in their lives. (more…)

An Advocate in Your Pocket by Surrey Childrens Rights Service

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Surrey Childrens Rights Team - Mona And Advocates CloseOn holiday in Edinburgh, I came upon a street called ‘Advocate’s Close’. Being the Children’s Rights Advocacy manager I quickly had this photo taken to mark the spot where, apparently, advocates live!

Advocacy Support Should Always Be Nearby

Back at work, with the summer a distant memory, the point of the photo seems even clearer: no Surrey child or young person should have to travel ‘far or wide’ to get advocacy support. (more…)

Pricing MOMO: What’s the Value of Service MOMO?

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Pricing Service MOMO: We Want it to Offer Value to Everyone - pic of direction signs with value on themWe need your help please.

This week at MOMO we’re getting to grips with the most difficult decision we’ve had to make about the app.

In March we decided to focus on making an app for looked after young people rather than those with mental health problems.

In July we needed to drop one of MOMO’s scenarios and decided to prioritise the ‘Change Something’ scenario over ‘About Me’.

We’ve made lots of other big decisions. But none as hard as this one: (more…)

Four Reasons Why MOMO Works for Children in Care Too

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MOMO Self-advocacy App - The Situation Screenshot

Tags make it easy for children and young people to quickly and powerfully highlight the points that they want to make.

When we started making MOMO we thought we were just building an app for care leavers.

That’s not been the case though. Early on we realised that we had to design something that also worked for 14+ year olds who were coming up to leaving care. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to use it to prepare for their transition.

However, without intending to we’re finding through our Beta testing results that we’ve developed a self-advocacy app that works for other children and young people in care too. (more…)

The Care Leavers Charter Film

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The Care Leavers Charter was launched on Oct 31st 2012. For over a year Scott King’s beautiful film, Conscience has accompanied the Charter on its journey to improving the lives of care leavers. Now Conscience has a campaign companion in the form of this powerful film about the life of being a care leaver made by young people and Barnardos. (more…)

Bexley IROs to Pilot MOMO

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Jumping with excitement about Bexley IROs

We’re excited that Bexley IROs have joined us

The most important person at a care plan review or pathway planning meeting should always be the young person (even if they don’t attend).

After them, the most important person is probably the Independent Reviewing Officer (or IRO). Their job is to make sure the planning process is done well, and that the young person’s wishes and feelings are given full consideration.

Its the full consideration part of the IRO role that gets us going at Team MOMO. So last night, when Bexley IROs agreed to pilot MOMO we were jumping with excitement. (more…)

Feelings Come First in MOMO

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Pictures and How are you feeling todayMOMO helps young people express their views, plan meetings, request changes and make complaints.

It helps them do all of this without having to go anywhere or meet with anyone (it can also help them do it while with their advocate, social worker or friend)

Why Feelings Come First

But for some young people, before they express their views or ask for something its helpful to have a way to express how they are feeling, at that moment. Asking how you’re doing is what an advocate or any adult worker does first. MOMO does the same. Engagement starts with making space for someone to express how they are feeling (even if that is that they don’t feel like discussing their feelings) and acknowledging it.

This is what MOMO does first. It replicates this human interaction by enabling its users to express their immediate feelings.

Click On A Feeling

Once a user has chosen a scenario the first thing MOMO asks is how they are feeling. Users can click on any of 14 different feelings, or add their own. In the words of Jamie, one of our Beta testers “I like how I can express how I feel by clicking a button”.

How I'm Feeling - Mind Of My Own ScreenshotThrough the input of Jamie and 13 other young testers we’ve refined the list of feelings they are offered. As we learn more about what people click and the new feelings they add we’ll refine the list further.

Sending Your Feelings

Once a young person has finished making their statement they can save, print or send it to someone. Their statement includes their feelings, as a snapshot of how they felt at the time of writing about their issue. Though their feelings may change by the time they get a reply to their statement, expressing them in their statement generates reader empathy and provides a starting point for discussion with their advocate or other worker.

When Writing is Easier Than Saying

Jamie also said “I prefer it to saying it out loud”. For many young people the easiest way to talk about things they find difficult or feel inhibited about is through writing them down. In therapy it can help them raise issues in a way that feels safer and relieves the pressure of having to verbalise them 1-1 with an adult. Similarly, MOMO provides a way for young people to communicate how they are feeling, and state any issues, without having to do it in a 1-1 setting.

You can help young people use MOMO in this way. Share it with them as a tool to express their views and communicate with you, especially for when you aren’t available. They will do the rest.

MOMO: Easier than Paper

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Too much paperIf you’ve ever been in care then you’ll probably have been given a paper form to fill in before your Review Meeting. The form will have asked you about what’s happening in your life, and most likely will have included all the things that your care team think are most important.

In our experience forms can come in a variety of slightly unwieldy versions: from Times New Roman fonted A4 sheets, to kind-of-cool-but-cheesy online games.

But when we asked young people (more…)