One of St Christopher’s strategic commitments for 2018-2023 is to promote lifelong learning and thriving for young people. Part of this is about creating co-produced pathways to independence using young people’s expertise, that can be tailored to an individual’s needs. We are achieving this through a number of ways, such as through our grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Through this project, we are supporting young people in our children’s homes and foster homes to explore what their future may look like when they leave care.
But how can we expect our young people to prepare for this change if they are don’t know what their options are?
Lewis lives at one of our children’s homes. With help from his key worker, he has been thinking about preparing for independence – but as neither of them had visited a 16+ home before, they weren’t quite sure what “independence” looked like.
So a member of staff from our life skills team, a post which is funded by Esmée Fairbairn, arranged for Lewis and his key worker to visit a St Christopher’s 16+ home in another part of the country. They spent the day looking at the accommodation and speaking to staff about how things work in the home.
A few days later, Lewis and his key worker had time to reflect on the experience. Lewis said he now felt “less anxious” about moving onto independence because he had a better understanding of what it would be like. He has thought about the areas he might struggle with and told his key worker about the specific things that will help him so that they can support him in the right way. Now, he will be more prepared for moving on from his children’s home.
The next step for the transitions project is to make links in the local areas so that young people can visit other homes to learn about the practical side of independence. And because St Christopher’s offers a variety of services, there are lots more opportunities for young people to learn about their options for leaving care.
Thank you to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for making this work possible.
Would you like to support our transitions work? Find out how your fundraising makes a difference to children in care.
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