A new magazine is giving a voice to thousands of young people living in care. Klic! (Kids Living in Care) was launched nationwide last October after a pilot across London. Aimed at eight to 12-year-olds, the quarterly publication's cartoons and upbeat articles offer advice to younger children living in foster families and care homes.
The spring edition is bursting with colour, promoting World Book Day this month with a Young Bond competition and a Roald Dahl giveaway. The centre pages are filled with a cartoon about children in care. The main character, Az, feels lonely and angry. The magazine addresses difficult issues head on, saying "Going into care can be very scary" before suggesting people to talk to.
Other pages combine care issues with entertainments. Children's questions to the Children's Commissioners for Scotland and Wales sit alongside a celebrity interview with CBBC's Raven. Both Klic! and its award-winning sister publication Who Cares? put great emphasis on representing young people, publishing their letters, stories and poems. They're a far cry from dowdy service-users' newsletters.
With a cartoon skateboarder leaping off the front page, the latest edition of Klic! should grab young readers' attention and make them want to read on. Klic! is produced by The Who Cares? Trust, which grew out of the Who Cares? magazine. Senior funding development manager John Simms says: "The whole trust stems from the direct voice of young people. That's what the trust is about - promoting that voice."
He would like to see Klic! made available through local authorities to the 22,000 eight to 12-year-olds living in care in Britain. Magazine editor Mark Tobin says: "Who Cares? magazine, before Klic!, was trying to hit a huge age range from 10 to 18. It was felt that we could target content more beneficially if we tailored Who Cares? for a teenage audience, and produced another publication that catered for the pre-teen market."
With plenty of teenage and pre-teen magazines on news-stands, the right balance must be struck between information on care and more light-hearted articles. "We can give children the gossip and their celebrity interviews, which may initially attract them to the magazine. But we can also give them care-specific information and help them make sense of some of the confusion that they're going through."
Feedback so far has been good. Cumbria County Council jumped at the chance to receive Klic!. Children's rights officer Lindy Ketchen says: "Some of our children can feel like they're the only child in foster care. The magazine makes them feel more connected."
The same isolation can also be felt in urban areas. Lorna Green of the London borough of Merton says: "Many of our young people don't want to be identified as a child in care, but it's useful for them to know that there are other people out there experiencing the same."
l Klic is published every three months by The Who Cares? Trust, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London EC1V 2NP.
Tel: 020 7251 3117 www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk