Staying Close Pilot

In 2017 Fair Ways was chosen as one of 8 organisations to pilot ‘Staying Close’, a government initiative, funded through the Department for Educations’ Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.

Currently young people leaving residential care go from 24 hour residential support to minimal or no support which can lead them to being unprepared for adult life.  For some young people this results in homelessness, unemployment and engaging in criminal activity. ‘Staying Close’ will enable young people leaving residential care to live near to, and retain links with, their children’s homes past the age of 18. Staying Close is designed to prove that by providing support to YP’s past the age of 18 their chances in life are much improved.

In two years’ time the pilots will be evaluated to test what has worked across the range of pilots, in particular evaluating the outcomes achieved for young people through the projects.  Following the evaluation Staying Close will be rolled out nationally, like Staying Put.

Current Issues

  • When turning 18 many young people are forced to move a great distance from their peer and social networks.
  • Many of the professional relationships which are key supports for the young person are completely severed.
  • Young people often have no clear plan for where they will be living in six months’ time from the age of 15.5 onwards. This uncertainty can lead to disengagement from professionals which in turn feeds in to the negative cycle.

Our Proposal

  • We will involve the young person in drawing up a pathway plan (alongside the local authority) as soon as possible after they are 15 years and 9 months old.
  • The plan will include details on key professional relationships that will be maintained over the period of 16 years – 21 years.
  • A Peer Mentoring Programme will be established for young people to initially be supported though the programme but latterly for them to become peer supports themselves.

Fair Ways Staying Close

 The pilot has 4 key elements

  • Long term care planning

    We will meet with the young person when the local authority has a statutory responsibility to compile their pathway plan – aged 15 and 9 months or older if appropriate. We will involve them in the drafting of this plan –ascertaining who they feel are the key staff they would like to provide the ongoing support through to adulthood. Our anticipation is that young people will move into Post 16 accommodation sometime after both their 16th birthday and also after them leaving school.

  • Environmental Consistency – 

    Each young person will go through 6 stages within Post 16 with monthly assessments being undertaken, the 6 stages of Post 16 will not involve a physical move of accommodation.

    From 18, the young person will transition to independent accommodation. Support takes the form of outreach and the aim will be for staff from their former Residential and Post 16 settings to provide this support. As was the case in Post 16, the support will be stepped-down over time to ensure another ‘cliff edge’ situation is avoided. Electronic support (Skype, calls, texts etc) from their key group members will be available for young people for as long as they wish once they have transitioned into adult life.

    Throughout every stage of the pilot from Residential to Post 18, every young person will have access to attend our Hub. This is a venue where young people can socialise, meet with their key group (further detail under ‘Maintenance of Key Relationships’), attend education and training and receive therapeutic support. It will be the one consistent environment for the young person when other aspects of their lives are changing.

  • Maintenance of Key Relationships

    Every young person will have a key group, members of this group will include; 2 residential key workers, post 16 link worker, their social worker and the Staying Close Project Coordinator.

    At 15 years and 9 months, the young person’s needs and readiness for a more independent setting will be assessed by their key group.  The assessment will help guide at what point the young person will be ready to step-down from residential care and to have a taste of independence. 3 months before the young person moves into their Post 16 accommodation their Post 16 link worker will work within the residential home to build a relationship with the young person.

    Once the young person moves into Post 16 their key workers from their residential home will continue to provide support, and ongoing support to their post 18 accommodation – thus removing the loss of relationships.

    The levels of support received will reduce incrementally over an 18-24 month period, replacing the sense of a cliff edge with small less daunting stages.

  • Meaningful education, training and employment

    Fair Ways is an approved City & Guilds and Gateway training centre which means that every young person who is not accessing some form of education / training can do so through Fair Ways. For all young people going through the Staying Close pilot they 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 plans will enable young people to focus on their education or on attaining the necessary skills to enter employment.


of care leavers have some form of mental health issue compared to just 10% of their peers


of 19-year-old care leavers are not in education


only of care leavers go to university


of people who are homeless have been in care at some point in their lives


of female care leavers become teenage parents


of the adult prison population have previously been in care

Key Information


We will be evaluated by Oxford & York University at the end of our 2 year pilot

Partnering Local Authorities

We are partnering with local authorities for the pilot.

Why it’s important

A high proportion (53%) of children in Children’s homes at 31st March 2015 had a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP);

In 2013, about 62% had clinically significant mental health difficulties and 74% were reported to have been violent or aggressive in the previous six months; and as of 31st March 2015, most of the children in Children’s homes were between the ages of 10 to 15 (56%) or 16 or over (41%)