Semi-Independence for Looked-after Children
The concept of semi-independence is to support the emotional and practical needs of young people in our care before they embark on their own journey as adults. A transitional stage between cared for and fully-independent living; semi-independence enables each young person to prepare themselves for life beyond care, safe in the knowledge that they can rely on the security, familiarity and support structure that Five Rivers provides.
Leaving home is an important step in any young person’s life and this is particularly so for those living in a looked after environment. By providing experience of independent living in a safe, supervised environment, we are meeting the needs of young people who perhaps are not yet emotionally or practically equipped to cope on their own.
Part of residential treatment is for our young people to get experience of some of the basic but important aspects of independent living such as doing the laundry, the preparation of meals, budgeting and paying bills and helping to understand their responsibilities as adults.
The high impact area of our work is purely focused on creating deliverables for young people that support their psychological well-being at this key point in their lives in order to help them make a positive contribution as members of the community.
From Care to where?
Transitions to adulthood
The transition from childhood to adulthood can be daunting for any young person and for looked after children it can be even more so.
It remains the case nationally that looked after children are much more likely to claim state benefits at an early age and clearly this does very little towards supporting their long-term financial independence.
One of Five Rivers key responsibilities is to provide the children in its care with sufficient recovery that they are able to live, learn and work independently once they leave care. We utilise individual care plans to encourage each child in our care to explore the full range of post-care education and employment opportunities available to them. This is clearly a wide choice and it includes:
- Further Education and Higher Education – via a range of agencies, care leavers are able to receive financial help up the age of 25 to support them in full-time education
- Work-Based Learning – young people can gain access to WBL programmes such as Apprenticeships in a huge variety of trades and skills as a component of a full-time or part-time role. Apprenticeship frameworks enable them to earn a weekly salary whilst they are being taught and gaining qualifications in their chosen occupation.
- Apprenticeships provide a structured path for continued professional development and are a well-regarded route towards gaining a fulfilling career, valuable qualifications and financial independence
- Work placements – these can be short or medium-term opportunities and enable companies and young people to gain experience in a working environment. Such placements can be associated with Work-Based Learning schemes and can provide a care leaver with an opportunity to learn, earn and develop experience in a work environment that will support them in seeking permanent employment.
- There is access to a range of employment and training support services through a number of publicly-funded agencies as well as specialist recruiters. These services will enable a young person to understand what to expect and what will be expected of them in a working environment including the importance of timekeeping and dress code, CV writing skills, application letter writing and employees rights and responsibilities
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