Care after 21 focus group – next steps  

8 March 2021

an illustration of three people talking round a table

On 25 February, we held a focus group for care leavers to discuss what kind of support you need after the age of 21.

The session built on the suggestions that you’d given us in December and saw Julie Mepham (Senior Manager Corporate Parenting Service) and Gemma Wilson (Area Manager Children – Care and Care Leaving Service) present their plan on how to put your requests into action.

Here’s what was set out:

Practical support  

By the end of May, we will: 

  • Ensure the Local Offer is up to date and accessible via the SUSU website. All the information will be accurate, easy to find and straightforward to understand.
  • Julie is reviewing the financial support policy and will add in extra support and access to more opportunities for care leavers. Overall, there will be a better finance package and better knowledge across the board on financial support.
  • Once this is finalised, financial advice can be made much clearer for both staff and care leaver.
  • As a result, calling the duty number will be more streamlined, as all workers will understand fully what the entitlements are.

We are planning: 

  • Independent living preparation workshops which will begin to happen from age 14 or 15 and be delivered by several partner agencies – such as health, police and housing.
  • Individual needs will be identified in these workshops, which will result in more in-depth discussion and support for you on specific areas with PAs.
  • A care leaver health team which will include speech and language therapists, counsellors, nurses, therapists, general advice around pregnancy, vaccines etc.

 

Relational support  

By the end of May, we will: 

  • Make sure that PAs and social workers are properly prepared on how to deliver ‘good endings’ when they need to leave or close their involvement with you. Unfortunately, poor endings can’t always be avoided when workers go off sick or for other reasons. However, staff are being better prepared for how to create positive endings.

We are planning: 

  • Drop-ins for care leavers. These are not currently possible due to restrictions from coronavirus and staffing issues. Once the overall service for care leavers is improved, we hope to develop this model of access to support.
  • To keep the PA duty rota for 21+ as it is rather than replace it with a consistent PA for 21+. Because of the priority for case allocations, the service is unable to have one PA per locality who will work solely with 21+ young people.
  • Support for care leavers who become parents. This will be for both mums and dads.

We are researching 

  • The idea of a peer mentor scheme.
  • Care-experienced specific therapy that you can access at any time. The care leaver health team will eventually deliver this, but Julie is exploring what can be done currently and until that team is fully up and running.

If you’ve got any feedback on the plan, let us know by emailing participation@devon.gov.uk.

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