Young People Leaving Care
This year Circles Network was commissioned by Peterborough Children's Services to work alongside four young people who are supported through their Leaving Care team. The idea behind this pilot project is to find out if creating Circles of Support and having a Person Centred approach, would positively address the particular situations and life experiences that young people at the point of leaving care often find they face.
The main objectives of the project:
- To ensure that the four young people leaving the care system, have supportive and appropriate networks of support around them
- To enable young people to fulfil their potential in education, training and employment
- To encourage the young people to have the skills to maintain their accommodation by themselves, i.e. to become more independent
- To enable the young people to accomplish their personal goals from the Pathway Plan and Person Centred Planning
This project has been a journey of discovery. The complexities that young people who have lived in the care system experience mean that our support needs to be further reaching than facilitating a Circle of Support. Young people can have few positive roles models around them and they have pressing priorities such as finding practical solutions to housing, education and managing their money. Young people commonly find it a struggle to feel positive about themselves and in forming new and equal relationships in their life. The young people we have worked with have also all experienced disrupted beginnings and loss.
Our support has therefore encompassed facilitating Circles of Support, advocating on behalf of young people and providing direct support with everyday tasks whilst listening deeply and endeavouring to keep each young person at the centre of their lives.
A natural and unplanned outcome of this project, directed by the young people themselves has been them supporting each other in their daily lives. Through their identifying, empathising and sharing common past and current experiences, the young people have formed friendships between themselves that otherwise may not ever have occurred. They are showing us the importance of sharing stories and learning from each other. Having the ability to trust others is a significant barrier and the impact of broken attachments from when they were little has clearly had a major lasting impact on how they view themselves and the world.
We are endeavouring to ensure that this pilot work is just the beginning of our support with this group of young people. With such powerful outcomes we also hope to have the opportunity to further extend this pilot project beyond this year and to reach a wider group of young people.