Catch22 welcomes today’s announcement of a new ‘Digital Passport‘, a “living document” for social workers, foster parents, and their children, which will keep a record of what they enjoy online, as well as any safeguarding concerns regarding online behaviour.
The tool, launched by the UK Council for Internet Safety‘s (UKCIS) Vulnerable Users Working Group, is designed to help communication between carers and children in care. The UK Council for Internet Safety says the passport “will ensure that while their home may change, the importance of their online life is communicated to new adults in their life.”
Catch22 Director of Young People and Families Kate Wareham said:
“It is a significant step today that young people in care are being recognised for the additional challenges and potential harms they face online. Young peoples’ online lives are just as important as their offline lives, if not more so for those in the care system.
“When a child’s guardianship is fractured, unstable, and often short-term, it is essential that efforts to maintain long-term, meaningful relationships with social workers and foster carers are maintained – the Digital Passport could directly help this. While the Passport is focused on online lives, there is likely to be considerable additional benefits for children in care; any opportunity to improve consistency and to ensure the young person’s feelings and needs are heard, in a way that suits them, can only be a good thing for the offline relationships they have with professionals and those in a position of care too.
“Catch22 would like to see this tool extended to other groups of vulnerable, young people. We would also like to see the National Minimum Standards for foster carers enhanced – training in how to have constructive conversations about online behaviour should be mandatory, in the form of training provided by the likes of The Social Switch Project, for example. Tools like the Passport could absolutely enhance such training.”