“Most young people live with their parents well into their 20s or even early 30s, but for many young people leaving care they are thrust into the adult world at 16 or 17 and they just aren’t ready or prepared for this – how can they be!”
Our Leaving Care service recognisies that the adolescent years can be a particularly difficult time for a teenager, but even more so for a teenager who has been looked after by the Local Authority and find their placement can no longer continue beyond 16/17 years old.
Our team of leaving care hosts provide supported accommodation with a real family in a real home who nurture young people in a safe and homely environment to deal with not only the day to day physical and emotional changes they are experiencing, but the transitions involved in taking that leap into independence, such as; moving from school to further education to employment; childhood into independency.
Working with other professionals we provide young people with the day to day skills they will need to become independent and eventually live on their own; this includes washing, housework and managing their finances. All of which are aimed at empowering them to make a successful transition into adulthood.
Aims and Objectives
The aim of the leaving care service is to provide high quality placements to enable care leavers to achieve positive outcomes in preparation for future independence. The primary aims of the service are to:-
- Provide safe accommodation options within a nurturing family environment for care leavers to support their social and emotional health and wellbeing and achieve positive outcomes.
- Provide care leavers with additional enrichment activities that will enable them to develop transferrable independent living skills and empower them to make the successful transition into future independent living arrangements.
- Engage them in further education, employment or training and to provide information, advice and guidance on relevant benefits, housing entitlements etc.
- Develop partnerships with local authority social workers, leaving care teams and other sectors, including health, education and leisure, to ensure that comprehensive support packages can be made available.
- Ensure care leavers have a voice in decisions that affect their lives (particularly Pathway Planning) and have opportunities to contribute to the wider development and delivery of the service.
- Place young people at the heart of our service by personalising the provision offered to them and being responsive to their needs, wishes and feelings.
- Treat care leavers with dignity and respect and provide nurturing environments that are free from prejudice, bullying, harassment and unlawful discrimination.
- Maintain a high quality work force, whom hold the relevant skills to perform the desired tasks.
Leaving Care Service provision
The leaving care service provides semi-independent accommodation for young people aged 16+. The service provides a high quality child-centred service within a safe and nurturing family environment which encompasses:
- Supported accommodation for Care Leavers
- Accommodation and support for young people who become homeless
- Supported lodgings accommodation for those with complex needs
- Specialised mother and baby support and accommodation options
- Planned and emergency (crash bed) provision
- Step down placements for young people that are in or at risk of entering residential care
- Personalised and comprehensive support options offered on a needs led basis
- Education and training
- Therapeutic and emotional health and wellbeing services
- Independent mentors, advocates or appropriate adults
- Family Group Conferencing
- Targeted Youth Support
- Out of hours on-call service that is operated 365 days per year by a qualified social worker supported by a manager.
Approval process – The assessment of a leaving care host provider would take place in the applicant’s home over a period of six to eight visits. The supervising social worker would ensure that an analysis of significant relationships, the family dynamics and personal characteristics of the foster carers underpin and inform the assessment. An independently chaired Panel consider and recommend the approval, or not, of all leaving care host providers.
The recommendation then goes before the Agency Decision Maker who makes a final decision. Any appeals can be made within 28 days and may either make further representation to the fostering panel or have their assessment considered by the Independent Review Mechanism who in turn will make a recommendation back to the agency.
All leaving care host providers are subjected to an annual review of their status at panel.
This is a formal review of the work that they have undertaken during the year and includes an opportunity to reflect on achievements and learning.
Support, supervision and training
All leaving care host providers are linked with a qualified social worker (Supervising Social Worker (SSW)) who provides supervision and support. The supervising social worker undertakes monthly supervisory visits and completes at least one unannounced visit per year. All visits and contacts with the foster carer are recorded and securely stored on our database in line with our Data Protection policy and procedure.
All leaving care host providers have access to training and meetings that provides them with an opportunity to acquire new skills, develop personally and professionally and explore new ideas via peer support and group discussion.
The Leaving Care Service can accept referrals from local authorities from the Lancashire and Greater Manchester areas.
There are broadly 3 teams supporting the leaving care service, which include a social work team, a support team and a business and administration team.
- The social work team includes an Ofsted Registered Manager and a team of qualified social workers who are experienced, skilled practitioners in family placement. The SSW’s undertake assessments of potential carers and provide on-going support and monthly supervision. They also provide comprehensive risk assessments and detailed support plans to ensure that the needs of care leavers are identified and support is commissioned to meet those needs.
- The support team includes a Resource Development Manager, Learning & Transitions Advisor (qualified teacher), Support & Engagement Officers and sessional support workers who provide one-to-one or group work interventions and enrichment activities to meet the identified needs of the young people involved in the service.
- The business and administration team include placements and recruitment officers who ensure the efficient and timely response to referrals and enquiries. The team also fulfil a quality assurance function to ensure that the service continually reflects and develops its current practice.
Support Available for Care Leavers
Leaving Care host providers will provide a semi-independent, nurturing family environment and will support young people to develop independence skills such as food preparation; developing healthy domestic routines; shopping on a budget; managing laundry; paying bills and saving money.
A comprehensive range of additional support is also available for Care Leavers that have identified needs such as social, emotional or behavioral difficulties, offending or risk taking behavior such as drugs or alcohol misuse, self-harm or those at risk of CSE. The CANW support service is allocated on a needs-led basis and provides:
- One-to-One Support
- Crisis Intervention
- Enrichment Activities – available during school holidays
- Funding to access local community activities (as an alternative to CANW activities)
- Education Support and Tuition – available via a qualified teacher
- Transitions Support – Information, advice and guidance regarding school admissions and exclusions, further education, employment, careers advice and entitlements.
- 15+ agenda – incorporating Pathway Planning and automatic inclusion in the Towards Work and Independence Group (TWIG).
- Therapeutic Person Centred Counselling – provided by qualified counsellors.
- Life Story Work – available via qualified Support & Engagement Officers.
- Issue based training (such as Healthy Relationships / CSE, drugs and alcohol awareness, budgeting, food hygiene etc.)
- Targeted Youth Support.
- Family Group Conferencing
The service supports young people to achieve positive outcomes with regards to improving self-esteem, improving relationships, improving educational attainment, reducing risk taking or anti-social behaviour.
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