Far too many care leavers are not in education, employment or training, have unmet health needs, are not prepared sufficiently for young adult life and live in unstable accommodation. A disproportionate number end up in custody. The current highly specified system inhibits the development of the effective relationships needed to sustain young people into adulthood. It is hindered by bureaucracy and compliance and is tied by traditional statutory roles. Services delivered are not matched to care leaver’s expressed needs and a culture of aspiration and achievement is lacking.
Our innovation will create a Care Leavers Partnership: redesigning and coproducing a new care leaver service, within a new delivery vehicle jointly owned by Southwark Council and Catch22. Enabling innovation in delivering a Southwark care leavers covenant, it will engage the current cohort of 16 – 25 year olds in co-designing and delivering a flexible service that meets their expressed needs and dramatically improves outcomes. The partnership will test and establish a new transformative staffing model and innovation culture with a team around the person who can best provide the right support. It will introduce a more meaningful, less bureaucratic planning and delivery approach.
Establishing the partnership and progressing this important work will demonstrate how a co-designed, needs-led model can transform outcomes for young people. This should deliver benefits for care leavers such as improved physical and emotional health, increased educational or employment related attainment and developing family or community networks whilst delivering at a lower cost than Southwark’s existing in-house provision.