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    Staying Close Suffolk

    Mitchell-Smith, zinnia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9128-4595, 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, Christopher ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4097-8439, Ozan, Jessica and Szifris, Kirstine ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5279-8072 (2020) Staying Close Suffolk. Project Report. Department for Education.

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    1. Being close to key workers emotionally and being close to key workers geographically was more important to the young people than ‘staying close’ to the children’s home. Young people wanted accommodation that was close to all of their social networks. This included staff at the children’s homes, but also family and friends. 2. Guaranteed tenancies have actively stopped some of the young people becoming evicted when they did not pay their rent. This has provided a safety net as young people learn valuable lessons around budgeting and independent living. 3. Partnership with housing and other support agencies and collaboration with Personal Advisors has enabled new approaches to supporting young people. This is a more holistic model including shared work to support young people in maintaining tenancies. 4. Sharing accommodation with peers helps to alleviate feelings of isolation, especially immediately after transition, which some young people reported as being a difficult time. There were some issues around young people not getting along in these situations, but most were positive and agreed that it helped them to become better at managing social relationships. 5. Having a choice of key workers was important for maintaining relationships through Staying Close. They also enjoyed the autonomy they had over increasing and decreasing the support as needed. However, not all young people interviewed reported having a choice of key worker. 6. Staff felt that being able to work on the transition to independence earlier in the young person’s life made a positive difference to outcomes. Initially this was six months prior to leaving the children’s home but staff are now beginning preparation work with young people at the age of 15 and 16. 7. The project has adapted in relation to feedback from the young people, and the staff associated with the programme. The continued development has involved a significant amount of co-production with all people involved, including future users of the programme. 8. Staff felt that young people need to be realistic in their expectations about the type and location of accommodation they can access through Staying Close given the cost and availability. Staff also raised that future work is needed to implement some boundaries around the availability of staff and the level of support young people expect from them. Ongoing work to extend preparation and develop clearer messages for young people around expectations and boundaries is being developed in Suffolk to address this issue. 9. The collection of data should clearly measure development towards local and national outcome objectives and should be implemented across innovations and interventions to support young people leaving care to enable an evaluation that is more conclusive.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

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