Staying Close Pilot



Young people leaving care often tell us that they face a ‘cliff-edge’ where support decreases after they turn 18. This can often lead to negative outcomes, undermining years of great work by the young person, support workers and social workers.

DID YOU KNOW?
34,720 care leavers in 2016
41% of those are not in Education, Training or Employment
A further, 7% are not in suitable accommodation
And an additional 10% of these care leavers are not contactable

We want to run pilots that will address challenges faced by them and support the development of Staying Close to engage with as many young people leaving residential care as possible. We want to provide a meaningful Staying Close offer to all young people leaving residential care that meets and supports their varied needs.

We are one of the 8 successful proposals to receive funding to run a 2-year pilot.

We outlined three significant problems and offered solutions as follows:

Problems

1) When turning 18 many young people are forced to move a great distance from their peer and social networks.

2) Many of the professional relationships which are key supports for the young person are completely severed.

3) 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.

Proposal

1) 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.

2) The plan will include details on key professional relationships that will be maintained over the period where the young person is approx. 16-21.

3) A peer mentoring scheme 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 pilot details

 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. We would remove the uncertainty of the upcoming years by agreeing a plan for their next two properties (after the children’s home) that they can expect to live in – the semi-independent living home, and post 18 staying close home. Our anticipation is that young people will move into Post 16 accommodation sometime after both their 16th birthday and also after them leaving school. For the purpose of our planning we have estimated that each child will be 16 years and 7 months old when they move in to Post 16 accommodation.

  • Environmental Consistency

    Each young person will go through 6 stages within Post 16 with monthly assessments being undertaken and this, alongside core group meetings and the views of the young person, will determine the pace of the drop-off of support offering regular contact with key workers from their Residential setting. 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 core group members will be available for young people for as long as they wish once they have transitioned into adult life.

    The Post 18 accommodation provided will be either owned or rented by Fair Ways. This enables us to ensure that the housing is of a high quality standard, and is geographically close to ensure that we are able to maintain peer and educational relationships. The young person will be involved in long term planning from as early as possible.

    Throughout every stage of the pilot from Residential to Post 18, every young person will have access to attend our Hub. The Hub is a venue where young people can socialise, meet with their core 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 core group, members of this group will include; 2 residential key workers, post 16 key worker, their social worker and the Staying Close Project Coordinator.

    The core group will first meet soon after the young person turns 15 and a minimum of every 3 months thereafter. At 15 years and 9 months, the young person’s needs and readiness for a more independent setting will be assessed by their core group.  This assessment will help guide what skills the residential home needs to work on with the young person to include their preparedness for a Post-16 setting.

    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. This sort of provision can assist our young people, giving them more understanding of what is involved and better prepared to work with Post 16 provision.  3 months before the young person moves into their Post 16 accommodation their Post 16 key 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. One aspect of the young person’s life at a time will alter –when they change their place of abode other aspects of support will remain.

  • 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.


Key Information


Evaluation

We are going to be evaluated by Oxford & York University. In a few weeks’ time we will have more information about what this looks like including measurement tools etc.

Timeline

First Young People into pilot Feb 2017.

Partnering Local Authorities

We are partnering with local authorities for the pilot.