Working in partnership with Norfolk & Cambridgeshire CC's
A new approach to how young people leaving the care system are supported is being launched this week. Staying Close, Staying Connected is a partnership between Break, a Norfolk children’s charity, Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council and the aim is to change the way young care leavers are supported, by putting a framework around them as they leave residential care that will dramatically transform their outcomes. The project will be officially unveiled at the Charles Burrell Centre on Friday 24 November.
A grant of 1.3 million has been awarded to Break from the Children’s Social Care Innovation Fund which aims to develop more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children, especifically those leaving Children’s Homes. The funding will pay for a pilot project in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to test out effective ways to support children leaving care over the next two and a half years.
The project will focus on young people from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but it is hoped that it will become nationally recognised as best practice in residential care leaver support.
Robert Goodwill, the Children’s Minister, has pledged that the Staying Close scheme will mean “care leavers will no longer have to face life’s milestones alone – be it applying for university, getting a job or finding their first home”. In essence it should mirror how a parent might support a young person leaving home, being agile and flexible around what they need and when.
Rachel Cowdry, Director of Business Development at Break says “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to work in partnership with Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support some of the most vulnerable young people in our counties. Break has already been supporting our own care leavers for five years through our Moving On Team. The Department for Education grant will enable us to develop this project to benefit many more vulnerable young people. We hope that this project will have positive repercussions for care leavers in our region and beyond”.
The need to support young people who have lived in care has been evident for many years. These young adults are much more likely, than their peers, to struggle in all aspects of their lives such as finding and sustaining work, physical and mental health, and building positive relationships. Sir Martin Narey, the former Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, conducted an independent review of children’s residential care in England, published in July 2016. This report stated the importance for the young people to “Stay Close” to their children’s home and the trusted relationships they had with the staff after they had to leave.
The Break project will test out different ways to support these young people including “Staying Close” and will provide new training for staff working in residential care homes, more accommodation for care leavers with intensive support, including focusing on their emotional wellbeing, so that care leavers can acquire the skills and resilience they need to live independent, successful lives.
To find out more about the project, click here for the brochure.
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