Young people leaving residential care are among those with most need for ongoing emotional and practical support, but often do not have the same opportunity as their peers to access ongoing support from parents, carers or foster parents. We know that some young people would like to sustain and continue to draw on the good relationships with children’s home staff, social workers and community connections they may have built up over their time in residential care. Currently, young people do not usually stay local to their children’s home once they have moved on. Finding affordable and sustainable local accommodation, particularly for young people under 18, is a practical barrier to staying close.
Our innovation aims to provide staying close options for young people, capitalising on successful peer relationships and the continuation of relationships from the children’s homes to enable them to live together in independent living. This includes individualised support set out in a placement plan, a key worker to provide on-going support and continued networking opportunities with the childrens home. Workers from our Staying Close Team will provide dedicated time to the coordination and planning with the young person. We operate a ‘basket of hours’ for each child, both for drawing on residential care home staff and for wider specialist support. Baskets of hours will be developed based on the individual needs of the young person, and can be used for things such as regular invites back to the home for meals and activities, support with education and settling in the evening.
Our project provides the opportunity for residential care leavers to sustain accommodation across ages 1 6-18+. Young people under 18 will need to prove themselves as successful tenants, under a guarantor provided by the council. If this is completed to the housing provider’s satisfaction, property can convert to individual or joint tenancies allowing them to remain. Our model encourages joint living allowing for peer support.
We are initially piloting our arrangements in four local authority children’s homes and three homes from the private sector. We would like to see a model that can be replicated and developed across the county.
Staying Close Implementation Manager
Manchester Metropolitan University
Ryes Education and Children’s Homes
Orwell Housing Association
Young people from Suffolk County Council’s Children’s Homes and Children in Care Council