Within Portsmouth, a significant proportion of young people leaving in-house care do not make successful transitions to independent living. A number of factors contribute to this including accommodation uncertainty and inconsistent support. These young people are highly vulnerable, with complex issues, and in many cases have poor education and employment outcomes. This makes them more likely to struggle with the challenges of independent living.
Portsmouth’s innovation focuses on two cohorts of young people: unaccompanied asylum seeking young people who are traumatised with significant issues of loss and no local connection; and young people who have come into care late or/and had multiple residential placements and therefore have had limited opportunities to address significant and complex behaviour.
The pilot will test out different approaches for these distinctly different groups of young people. This includes developing one independence living tool with young people for use by young people and professionals across all the agencies. New and improved accommodation pathways will be developed to provide stability and certainty. Alongside this, a range of appropriate education and training opportunities will provide pathways to more formal education, training or work. A new multidisciplinary assessment process, used at the point of entering residential care, with strengthen the young person’s pathway plan. Finally, family group conferences will be used to improve and sustain relationships with the child’s family through a restorative approach.
As of March 2020, the project team had been given an additional building of five bedsits with an office by Vivid Housing Association, due to problems with another unit. This changed the support model from outreach to staff on site, plus intensive outreach support to the other two buildings. This meant the project could work with 14 instead of ten young people.
DfE funded independent evaluation will be published in 2020.