Key points from the 21+ focus group

17th December 2020

An illustration of someone giving feedback on a tablet computer

On 3 December, we held a focus group for care leavers to discuss what kind of support you need after the age of 21.

You’d previously told us that Care Leavers aged 21-25 still need access to support. And what’s more, you said it’s helpful if that support is provided by someone who you trust – someone who knows and understands you.

But given that it’s not financially possible to provide all Care Leavers with a PA after age 21, a group of Devon Care Leavers met with Corporate Parenting manager, Gemma Wilson, to come up with creative solutions to ensure you still get the practical and relational support that you need.

Here’s a brief summary of the suggestions you came up with:

Practical support

  • Personal booklet/online portal with contact details for all key agencies or people (banking/ council tax/ landlord/ plumber etc) and space to add to it.
  • SUSU website should include links to useful websites for financial advice with a community board to share tips/ ask questions of each other.
  • Free access to a financial advisor.
  • Helpline with staff who fully understand entitlements, can provide answers to practical concerns and has good knowledge of local support services.
  • Better preparation for independent living earlier on with focused education on financial matters.
  • Something that proves our Care Leaver status as this can help with getting more understanding from other agencies and landlords.

Relational support

  • A mentoring scheme with a trusted adult that starts well before we reach 21 which can continue for as long as we need it.
  • Better planning and preparation of ‘endings’ so that when our PA leaves, we feel prepared and positive about the way forward.
  • Between 18 and 21, we should be given educational sessions on attachment – and on therapy we can access if we need it.
  • A consistent 21+ PA for each locality who is easy to contact.
  • A drop-in/youth group specifically for Care Leavers with the 21+ PA present so we can build supportive friendships with each other and trust with the PA.

Gemma will work with her team to come up with a plan based on these suggestions, and the focus group will meet again at the end of January to develop the plan further.

If you’ve got any feedback on the suggestions above, or have any ideas of your own, please email us at participation@devon.gov.uk, speak to your local participation worker or DM us on Instagram or our Twitter.

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