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    Bristol City Council Staying Close Pilot

    Allen, Daniel ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5687-3623, Heyes, Kim ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9029-545X, Hothersall, Grace, O'Leary, Chris ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4097-8439, Ozan, Jessica, Mitchell-Smith, Zinnia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9128-4595 and Szifris, Kirstine ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5279-8072 (2020) Bristol City Council Staying Close Pilot. Project Report. Department for Education. ISBN 978-1-83870-160-4

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    Staying Close is intended to address the ‘cliff edge’ of support that is faced by young people leaving children’s homes. Although the 2017 Children and Social Work Act requires local authorities to provide advice and support to all care leavers until the age of 25, aspects of financial, housing and practical support remain discretionary. For young people leaving the care of a children’s home, this means that there can be substantial variability in provision of support. For many young people, the experience of leaving a children’s home can be marked by loss. Confronted with a complex process of legally becoming an adult, young people also have to accept the loss of their key worker. This worker, depending on individual circumstance, could be one of the closest people to the young person. In line with the duty to provide some consistency in a time that is defined by loss, this report shows that Staying Close in Bristol is able to facilitate the opportunity for care leavers to access ongoing and flexible support, dependent on assessed need, from their former key worker. Young people in Bristol have explained that Staying Close can help to fence off the ‘cliff edge’ associated with the experience of leaving care and provide a ‘safety net’ that can catch those who find themselves at risk of falling into crisis by maintaining relationships that reflect genuine concern, availability, and consistency. Evidence from this evaluation suggests that Staying Close in Bristol has been successful because it provides an accommodation offer and housing pathway that facilitates opportunities for young people to experience a gradual journey to independence. However, the key workers explained that they are not formally trained to support the specific emotional, psychological, social, or practical needs of care leavers. Although the young person’s former key worker can utilise their knowledge of the young person to assess, plan, implement and review services, amendments to mandatory training programmes could extend to consider the specific, effective, and integrated approaches that are needed to support care leavers too. Evidence presented in this report suggests that the addition of the Staying Close worker within existing formal leaving care services means that the purpose and function of the role are not always understood by the young person or the range of professionals supporting the leaving care transition. The development of Staying Close provides an opportunity for future research and co-produced policies that could better guide the integration of Staying Close within the social care, health, education, and housing workforce.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
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    6 month trend

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