The project aims to remove the uncertainty of the first few years after leaving care by identifying the next two properties that a young person can expect to live in – a semi-independent living home and a post-18 staying close home. The post-18 accommodation provided is owned either by Fair Ways or rented by us from a private landlord or partner housing provider. By removing the uncertainty around accommodation, young people are better able to focus on their education or obtaining the necessary skills to enter employment.
Staff from residential homes continue to provide support in the semi-independent home and in the post-18 accommodation, thus removing the loss of relationships. The levels of support received reduce incrementally over a 18-24 month period, replacing the sense of a cliff edge with small less daunting steps. The aim is for only one aspect of the young person’s life to alter at a time; when they change their place of residence, other aspects of support remain.
This Staying Close pilot includes each young person in drawing up their own pathway plan as soon as possible after they are 15 years and nine months old. The plan includes details on key professional relationships that will be maintained over the period when the young person is aged between 16 and 20. A peer mentoring scheme is being established which will provide support and a route for each young person to become a peer supporter themselves. The aim is not to simply provide support beyond 18, but to completely restructure the support for young people aged 16 to 20.
DfE funded independent evaluation will be published in 2020.