We provide a wide range of housing and support services for young people including care leavers to support local authorities in their statutory responsibilities and beyond.
Spotlight on Essex Young People’s Partnership
Our new countywide Essex Young People’s Partnership (commenced June 2017) delivered in partnership with Family Mosaic provides an innovative accommodation and support pathway for young people particularly those aged 16 and 17, as well as care leavers and vulnerable parents. The partnership is informed by the ‘St Basils Positive Pathway’, a national framework introduced in 2015 in order to help local authorities and their partners effectively prevent homelessness and promote better outcomes for 16 to 25 year olds.
Ben’s story – an example of a young vulnerable person’s journey
Ben, 17, felt under great pressure to look after his three younger siblings, often taking on parental duties including drop off and pick from school, cooking and cleaning, whilst his mother worked very long hours.
The situation at home began to affect Ben’s concentration and ability to keep up with school work and preparation for his GCSEs, with occasional use of cannabis escalating to very frequent use and addiction. When Ben’s mother moved her new partner into the household, conflict escalated between the new partner and Ben which resulted in frequent verbal and physical altercations. During one argument, Ben’s mother’s partner told Ben to leave the family home, shortly before ending the relationship with Ben’s mother. Ben began to ‘sofa surf’, staying at various friends’ houses.
Ben’s mental health began to suffer and he began to self harm and have suicidal thoughts. When Ben confessed that he had tried to commit suicide, concerned school teachers referred Ben for support from the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and he was declared homeless.
On council referral to the Essex Young People’s Partnership, involvement in the scheme for a young person like Ben will include:
- being greeted by a dedicated Support Coordinator and team, that have full understanding of Ben’s background and support needs using the information from the council Supported Housing Needs Assessment (SHNA)
- having an immediate safety plan prepared to address Ben’s cannabis use through referral to specialist substance misuse services to stop his addiction, with involvement from Ben’s college, and CAMHS
- having the licence agreement, key tenant and helpful contact information, and our ‘service promise’ clearly explained before Ben is given the keys to his new home
- daily and weekly sessions to talk through Ben’s hopes , aspirations, what he would like to do in future, and how he can be supported to get where he wants to be
- support to help Ben achieve his desire to complete his GCSE’s, go on to complete A Levels and attend university, through ongoing engagement with Ben’s school and local colleges to enable enrolment onto relevant courses and volunteering opportunities
- regular sessions to explore and adopt ‘coping strategies’ with a dedicated support worker and CAMHS, following Ben’s exposure to domestic abuse, which has caused existing trauma and had negative affects upon his behaviour and emotional resilience
- regular reviews of progress against key areas including education, ‘ready for work’ and ‘independent living’ skills, and managing money so that Ben can agree next steps with his Support Co-ordinator, with reviews being shared with service commissioners and council managers as part of service monitoring
Ongoing support for a young person like Ben will continue whilst they prepare to live independently, during any move into suitable accommodation and beyond to ensure their success in maintaining a tenancy and managing their finances. Alternatively, should Ben desire to return to the family home, the Essex Young People’s Partnership will be able to provide support to both Ben and his family in order to ensure that risks such as pressure to care for siblings and the return of his mother’s abusive ex partner can be mitigated and monitored.