Supported Lodgings The best option for young people leaving care?
Supported Lodgings Definition. • According to Broad (2008), “the term ‘supported lodgings’ has no universal meaning or regulatory structure”, though he identifies some common features: • A form of supported accommodation for vulnerable young people who are not ready to live independently. • It is provided by private individuals (‘host’) who offers room in home and varying level of support. • It aims to provide a safe and supportive environment and an opportunity to develop skills necessary for independent living
Supported Lodgings History • Supported lodgings has been successfully supporting care leavers for over 30 years but suffers from a lack of research evidence to support this view. • The practice of using supported lodgings for care leavers is ahead of central government policy and funding leads. • Research suggests that care leavers in supported lodgings place the highest value on leaving care teams. • Study discovered that supported lodgings is a highly valued resource by frontline staff.
Young People • Research indicates that many young people leaving care in Scotland have found it difficult to achieve a successful transition to independence. • Findings identify that young people leaving care have often been previously subject to disadvantages that are detrimental to their future social and emotional wellbeing. • They may have experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse, rejection by their families, substance misuse, offending behaviour, low educational attainment, and will often be very vulnerable to being exploited by others. Many will also have mental health difficulties and some will have learning difficulties.
Challenges Faced • Must make these transitions earlier than most other young people (average age of general population is 25, care leavers under 17) • Cannot like other young people so easily fall back on family if things do not work out • Face same challenges as all young people in finding suitable employment, education, housing and relationships. However, have additional disadvantages and barriers to overcome.
Statistics • Figures contained in the annual report by HM Chief Inspector for Scotland 2009 clearly show a continued failure in meeting the needs of these individuals: whilst 1% of Scottish children have been in care, 50% of Scottish prisoners have been in care and 80% of Scottish prisoners convicted of violence have been in care.
Who are the Carers? • No ideal specification • Wide range offers better choice and flexibility for placements • “little consensus about an ideal ‘person specification’”, only that “carers should be concerned adults but not a substitute for professional expertise.” • Matching placements appropriately is key
Difficulties • Lack consistent approach • Financial, support systems, management • Regulated as Adult Placement • Low profile • Young persons opinion/views • Ambiguity in Throughcare and Aftercare Legislation
Benefits of Supported Lodgings • Consistent adult Support • A period of stability in which to take advantage of educational and training opportunities • Modelling – learning how different households work and how they deal with mistakes. • An opportunity to test and develop the day to day skills needed to survive in the world. • A resource that requires negotiation on both sides is in itself a necessary skill to surviving in adult life.
Variety – carers come in many shapes and sizes as do young people – backgrounds can match Normality – local resource which allows for anonymity – reduces stigma of being labelled as mad or bad which is so often the layperson’s understanding of being in care. Continuity (in some cases) – conversion from fostering to Supported Lodgings allows for continuity of existing foster care arrangements
The Effectiveness and Impact of Supported Lodgings • Research indicates that Supported Lodgings are extremely cost-effective in enabling positive outcomes for young people in making a successful transition to independent living. Analysis of outcomes shows that, on most outcome indicators, a significantly higher percentage of young people (aged 16-21) living in Supported Lodgings achieve positive outcomes compared with young people in other types of supported accommodation.(Fostering Network 2011)
Homeless Perspective ‘In recent years provision for care leavers and homeless young people has become increasingly interlinked, driven by the advantages of an integrated local approach to planning and providing for vulnerable young people who need supported accommodation, whether or not they have been looked after’ - Briefing on Supported Lodgings for Vulnerable young people ages 16-24(Fostering Network 2011) • Pros and Cons of offering this model within the homeless sector....discuss