In 2018, Fair Ways successfully tendered for ‘Staying Close’ a Department of Education Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. This was our first tender and we were, by some distance, the smallest company whose proposal was accepted.
Staying Close is designed to prove that by providing support to young people past the age of 18, their chances in life are much improved.
At 18 many young people face a cliff edge of leaving supported care, to little or no support. They are often forced to move a great distance from their peer and social networks. Their established professional relationships which are key supports for the young person are often completely severed. Young people will have no clear plan for accommodation and this may lead to a spiral of negative behaviours with poor outcomes.
Fair Ways Staying Close proposal has four key elements, described below. Our plan provides graduated support up to 21 years of age. The model is financially self-supportive and in fact, provides significant savings to the state across a range of expenditure currently required to manage the impact of negative behaviours. We hope our model will be adopted UK wide, as an outstanding example of ‘making a difference’ in transitional care for young people.
Our staying close programme has four key elements. These will help provide a better level of independence and provide a supported transition into adult life.
Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to compile a pathway plan for young people aged 15 years and 9 months or older. Fair Ways will assist to draft this transition plan and identify key staff to support the young person. These key staff members will provide support through the whole transition process.
Typically the first transition is from residential care to Post 16 or Independent Supported Living (ISL) accommodation. Several months before, Fair Ways assesses the readiness for this transition and, at this point, assigns key staff to the young people. Following this transition, support is provided at the ISL accommodation and will be gradually reduced as the young person gains independent skills. During this time planning is also underway for a further transition at 18 years, seeking to avoid the cliff edge that young people currently face at this age.
From age 18, young people will transition to independent accommodation. Support takes the form of outreach, ideally with the same key worker they had in the residential and ISL settings. Again, support is gradually reduced until the young person is fully independent at 21 years of age.
Throughout every stage of the pilot, each young person will have access to the Fair Ways Hub. This venue is a consistent environment where young people can socialise, meet with their key group, attend education and training, and receive therapeutic support.
Fair Ways is an approved City & Guilds and Gateway Training Centre. Every young person who is not accessing some form of education and or training can do so through Fair Ways.
All young people on the Staying Close pilot will have the opportunity to gain their peer mentoring qualification and become mentors to other young people in the pilot. Removing the anxiety and uncertainty around accommodation and planning enables young people to focus on their education or on attaining the necessary skills to enter employment.
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