As a service, it is our responsibility and ambition to support young people into independence when they are ready. Many wish to remain in their established foster homes after their 18th birthday. This is possible within Conwy via “Supported Lodgings”, but will expand with the “When I am ready” initiative. Our aim is to provide this option to all care leavers while still having capacity to accept new looked after children.
An analysis of accommodation and support needs of our care leavers (110 young people between the ages of 16-21, most of whom live in different forms of supportive accommodation), identified that there are limited options around supported living. We are working jointly with Conwy Housing Services to improve the options available to care leavers.
For those with more complex needs, we have forged links with PSS (adult placement scheme) and also the Approved Landlord Scheme, and local companies such as Procare. All of these schemes are able to support young people well into adulthood, and it is our vision that reaching the age of 18 should not be a barrier to accessing accommodation and support.
We intend to develop a ‘Menu of Options’ for young people wanting to progress from foster care into independence. We are working closely with our colleagues from Housing Services and the Vulnerable Adults Service. A complex case accommodation panel has been established which helps to identify unmet need and manage accommodation move-on in a more proactive way. SARAF, a single panel considering all the accommodation needs of young people will help avoid delays in accommodation for Care leavers.
Critical Analysis of the Stability of Foster Placements
Conwy prides itself on successfully providing stable placements, matched to individual needs. Occasionally, if a placement no longer meets the child’s needs, it can be concluded. Meetings are then held to reflect on what went wrong. Learning from this, a new online tool has been developed to critically analyse current placements, and grades them as being Stable/Emerging Problems/Critical Problems. Appropriate interventions are put into place when necessary, and colleagues within our service and from partner agencies are engaged in developing appropriate remedial/stabilising interventions. We wish to promote the ethos that the stability of a foster placement has equal weight to the stability of a family home.
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