This paper came about from discussions between three avid and passionate individuals who all have a commitment to improving the lives of young people in care and care leavers. We had all worked with young people in care, care leavers and/or leaving care professionals and organisations so drew on a lot of knowledge and experience.
The policy landscape at this point was supportive of developing a better strategy for young people leaving care and for a long time there had been acknowledgement that the current leaving care route for many young people simply was not working.
Were we still caring for our young care leavers?
You can read the full briefing paper here.
It is often hard to individually reflect on a piece of work you have done as a collective. So i reiterate the statement i have made at the bottom of my website - this is my own view and no one elses.
A briefing paper is such a short space to really unpick and give depth to the issue - hence it was brief. I feel that we wrote a powerful and important paper but I that we were somewhat constrained by real or imagined pressures where I felt that the paper would not have been welcomed if we were perhaps a little bolder in our vision. One area I felt we should have been braver on was that of the lack of support for young people living in residential care to stay in their placements where those in foster care were going to be given this opportunity.
The bill was passed which was a positive step forward for care leavers and those invested in them but we are not yet far enough beyond the bill to assess whether the paper bill has made it into practice.
A great addition is the work that co-author Kenny McGhee has done for his Masters Dissertation which can be downloaded here.
Kenny also adds:
‘The dissertation paper is based on a qualitative study of residential child care practitioners’ views and perspectives of the blocks and enablers to the implementation of staying put and continuing care practice with three Scottish local authorities. Key findings highlight issues around learning and development opportunities for practitioners; the importance of management in creating enabling contexts for practice; the challenges of resource pressures and limited capacity in the sector; and key issues around established culture and practice. What emerged was an overwhelmingly consistent narrative of a complex, contradictory, nuanced context within which residential child care practitioners operate. The paper discusses these findings within the context of challenges to implementing staying put and continuing care and turning policy intentions into practice. It highlights the importance of relationship-based practice and the need to establish ‘a new norm’ for looked after young people transitioning from residential care settings.’