Hi all, I'm a newbie. Has anyone done supported lodgings for 16/17 year old care leavers? Just been through the late teen stage with DD, and no way could she have coped independently at that age. I dread to think! How much support/guidance etc do you actually give? Do you help them with FE choices, job-hunting etc as well as home-based stuff like cooking? I've been thinking of applying to foster younger teens, but starting to wonder if I could offer more help this way. I'd only want to do it if the yp can really benefit from my support, life experience etc - don't just want a lodger!
Not all LAs have supprotive lodging schemes, so you need to check this out with your LA. I was a sw and tm mgr for 30 years for a LA (now retired) and we did have a SL scheme, but it was difficult to find people willing to be involved.
I think the issues you raise depend very much on the particular LA and their arrangements for young people leaving care (in many LAs 16 yr olds are placed in bedsits and expected to cope) I believe this is the case in any inner cities and the reason is that the LA don't have the resources to run a SL scheme.
I was a tad concerned about your last sentence "you'd only want to do it if the yp can really benefit from my support" well there are no guarantees at all. Some yps will have lost trust in adults, and will use u as just a "lodging" whereas others may become closer and you would be more able to help, but so much dependends on the yp. Most LAs won't pay beyond 18 years and then the yp is expected to live independently. It is a scandal that the most disadvantaged section of young people are expected to live independently at 16, 17 or if they are lucky 18.
There is some legislation "Leaving Care Act 2000" which you could gogle (I've forgotten a lot of it now) but it did place new duties on LAs regarding children leaving care.
I'm not sure if they still do this. I haven't seen it in the new Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000. Young Care Leavers now have a Personal Adviser and financial support until 18 (beyond if in education/training). I agree with Nana. You would not be guaranteed to have a young person placed with you who wanted your support and guidance. Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh!
Thanks for advice both of you. I think I worded it badly, am not harbouring any illusions about yp, I understand help might not be welcome or accepted!
I guess I wanted a feel for whether these schemes are set up in any structured way to try to move the yp towards independence, eg is there an actual plan for the yp re education/work/life-skills, with their sw monitoring progress etc or am I a bit naive to think that. If a particular yp ended up just using it as lodgings, that's understandable of course, but I feel I've loads to give to young people, and just want to make sure I'd be entering into something where I could help at least some of them, beyond just providing a roof over their heads! My LA does run a SL scheme but they've been really vague about what's involved.
NanaNina, I've read loads that you've written on MN and it has spurred me on to get on with fostering, after thinking about it for years. If I don't do the SL, I intend to apply to foster teenagers, and there's a sw coming to speak to me about that in couple weeks. So thank you, for sharing your knowledge, and your commitment to this site!
Glad I've been of some help - helps me too, as I can use some of my expertise from the past. I don't regret retiring but I loved my job so much.
Re SL - I think the Children Act 1998 or the Leaving Care Act definitely places a duty upon the LA to formulate a Pathway Plan for yps in the LA system, and I recall that plans needed to start when the yp was about 15 (I think) which I thought was ridiculous (but the mind always has to focus on limited resources I'm afraid) and the object of the exercise was to ensure that the yp did in fact have a pathway plan in place for when he was leaving foster care. Sorry I really am a bit hazy now about all this, but what I am certain about is that what is contained in the Regs to these pieces of legislation does not necessarily happen in the LA. I think the sw was vague about it because he/she didn't know what was involved. Do they have a leaving care team - if so it might be best to talk to them about S/L.
I really am wondering if you would be better fostering teenagers. Is there a specific scheme for fostering teenagers; some LAs have them, others not. It would involve you applying to foster yp in the 13 - 17 age range, and you would have to do the prep course and be assessed etc. One thing about fostering though is that you are certain of fostering allowances (and for teenagers it is usually a good allce) and some support from the LA.
In the LA I worked for, sometimes teenagers who were being fostered but were not ready to leave the foster home (and if the carers were in agreement) stayed on as S/L which meant reduced allowances to the carers, as S/L payments were less than foster care allowances. Most of these situation were with foster carers who did not want the yp to leave and some of them said they would keep them on without payment. Some very big hearts involved. Have to say these sorts of cases were in the minority.
Are you talking to the sws directly or on the phone. I think you need to ask for a meeting with someone from the fostering team and raise the issue about S/L and hope they are better informed - I wouldn't hold my breath mind!!