Action for Children becomes first major charity to invest in social work app

The Mind of my Own app enables young people to communicate directly with social workers

The Mind of my Own app
The Mind of my Own app

Action for Children has become the first UK-wide charity to buy new app technology that enables young people to communicate directly with social workers.

The Mind of my Own apps allows young people to share confidential information from tablets or phones with social workers, who can then assess their wellbeing.

It is estimated that up to 1,000 children looked after by Action for Children and 200 of the charity's staff will be using the apps by the end of the year.

An Action for Children pilot scheme allowed young people to use the technology as an alternative way to vocalise problems and express feelings.

John Egan, national director of Action for Children, said the technology "provides safe and effective ways for children in care to powerfully use their voices and share experiences with our staff and others who work with them outside formal meetings".

He said: "Feedback so far has been hugely positive and our staff are finding the communication invaluable.

"Children who have sometimes struggled to discuss difficult issues are now using the app to start a conversation. The apps will complement, not replace, our face-to-face work."

There are two apps: the One app allows young people to create their own accounts, which can be used on any devices to communicate feelings at any time.

The Express app is for younger children and children with learning difficulties who do not have smartphones and is designed to be used during meetings with social workers.

A spokeswoman for Mind of My Own said the technology was first used by public sector children's services last year and Action for Children was the first UK-wide charity to invest in it.

She said it was a tool for improving record-keeping as well as communication because young people's messages were automatically sent to social workers as PDFs.

Jill Thorburn, director of Mind Of My Own, said: "Our apps enable children and young people to say what they want, when they want to and in a way that suits them, giving their workers rich, authentic information to work with."

Neither Action for Children nor Mind of My Own would reveal the cost of the technology.

The Mind of My Own spokeswoman said the cost varied according to various factors, including the size of an organisation.

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