Transitional support for young people in care launched in Suffolk

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council

Gordon Jones, cabinet member for children's services, education and skills at Suffolk County Council Picture: WARREN PAGE/PAGEPIX LTD - Credit: WARREN PAGE, PAGEPIX LTD

Young people leaving residential care in Suffolk will now be able to stay closer to their children’s homes under a new government pilot scheme.

A summer barbecue was held on Thursday, August 9, at ‘The Mix’ youth centre in Stowmarket to launch the ‘Staying Close’ pilot scheme.

The government says currently many young people who have been in residential care are forced to move a great distance from their peer and social networks when turning 18.

The aim of the scheme is to help young people from the age of 15 start thinking about their future and planning for independent living with the assistance and support of residential care workers and those they have established relationships with.

This detailed planning often doesn’t happen until a young person is close to the time they need to move on from the home, which sometimes leads to unnecessary distress and anxiety about the future.

Resources are now being focused on early intervention of move-on support to reduce this anxiety.

The pilot also offers young people the opportunity of keeping in touch with residential care workers and their children’s home for emotional and practical support.

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Funding for the three-year pilot scheme was awarded by the Department for Education.

Suffolk County Council invited The Ryes Children’s Home in Sudbury to join them in piloting the scheme to test how this move on care can be achieved for children who want to remain living close to their home.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said the new project will help young people prepare for the future.

He said: “We are thrilled to have received this funding from the government to pilot the new Staying Close service in Suffolk.

“Support for young people can drop off once they leave care, and it can knock their confidence.

“This new provision will help young people prepare for the future and also provide then with the support and care as and when they feel they need it after they have left their children’s home.

“We will develop the pilot in partnership with young people so we can ensure it meets their needs and addresses the problems that they are most concerned about.”

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