Within North East Lincolnshire, excellent care provided by children’s homes has not always led to good transition outcomes. It is crucial that placement stability is maintained so that young people sustain tenancies. Stability has a significant impact on a young person’s ability to engage in employment and training. Many prevalent financial risks (e.g. paying Council Tax or claiming Housing Benefit) only become evident once young people leave care and reach the age of eighteen. By keeping young people close to their substitute family structure the continuation of established routines and relationships will be sustainable, reducing social-isolation and loneliness which can lead to mental health issues.
Our innovation will operate in a series of functions; firstly, we will develop Signs of Safety based “Staying Close” contracts with care leavers. Secondly, we will work with partners to secure suitable accommodation and improved transitional support (e.g. housing and mental health services). Alongside this, a process for releasing identified workers’ “hours” will be established, enabling them to continue supportive relationships with care leavers. Furthermore, Family Group Conferencing or Family Network Meetings will be utilised to ensure an effective support network is in place for each young person prior to leaving care. Lastly a peer mentoring model will be co-designed, with care leavers, to offer sibling style support and digital support mechanisms to facilitate ongoing support from identified workers.