Outstanding and innovative: children’s residential care and MOMO

November 26, 2018

Outstanding – 10 years in a row!

I am very proud to say I am one of the registered managers of an exceptional children’s home bringing residential practice into the 21st century. Last week I was delighted and proud to have done the impossible: we are the only children’s home we know of that has managed to have achieved what we have and been rated outstanding for ten years running. We are also the first children’s home to be using MOMO (Mind Of My Own) apps.

This year our inspector was looking for the ways in which we are continuing to develop our practice and loved the fact we have introduced MOMO apps to help children receive a truly personalised service. Listening to children is fundamental to excellent practice and the apps help children tell the team at Moorside and their wider care team about what’s important to them. This allows the staff to really know the young people in their care and enables me as a manager to be sure our services are completely open and safe.

Ofsted quotes MOMO

The home subscribes to ‘Mind Of My Own’, referred to by the young people as MOMO, an application that has revolutionised the way in which young people are able to communicate with social workers, staff and other designated professionals by using technology, such as a computer, tablet or mobile phone. This empowers young people to have a real voice and ensures their views , feelings and opinions are heard.

(Moorside Ofsted Inspection Report 2018)

Children communicate digitally

Communicating digitally is natural to our young people. As the Children’s Commissioner report states, our young people have ‘grown up digitally’. This is the way they are often most comfortable communicating. Read the report here if you haven’t already. As practitioners we must develop the ways that we support looked after children to express themselves with this in mind not expect them to just fit into the ways we might be more familiar, or even more comfortable with.

During the inspection one of our young people met with the inspector to talk about her experience of living in our home. After the meeting she used MOMO to share with him how she felt the meeting had gone. This allowed the inspector a unique insight into how she felt about her meeting with him.

Our young people use MOMO

Moorside’s young people use MOMO whenever they like to share their views, wishes and feelings, whether it’s good news they want to share, a meeting they need to prepare for, or a problem to be sorted. We thought our young people might be too old for MOMO Express but we were glad we gave them the choice. They absolutely loved making their one page profiles, detailing their likes, dislikes and what’s important to them. These profiles are a wonderful way to get to know a new young person or if we have a new member of staff. Anyone working with children knows how much they hate telling their stories over and over, and why should they? With MOMO Express they can share comprehensive information all about them by using a digital tool they love to engage with.

Participation comes into the 21st century

We have been using MOMO for a few weeks now and our young people have really seen the benefits to communicating with their social workers and our team in this way. The issues they have raised have included one young person who was feeling frustrated, confused and hopeless as they had run out of phone credit through to another wanting to speak to her social worker about how family contact was going. Through using MOMO we have brought our participation practice into the 21st century and given our young people a means to communicate in a way that suits them.

I owe massive thanks to our team for their momentous achievement. I couldn’t be more proud of the top class care they give our young people every day. Along with now using MOMO, this is how we deliver outstanding care and move with the times. This is how residential care should be!

Nicola Higham
Strategic Lead