Joint initiative by leading care groups
Supportive relationships, appropriate housing, and adults transferring decision-making power are key to securing good outcomes for care experienced young people, according to a report published today.
The report marks the conclusion of the evaluation of the Home and Belonging (H&B) initiative, led by Children in Scotland and Staf (the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum).
The initiative challenged the status quo which sees many care experienced young people endure broken tenancies, isolation in the community and spells of homelessness.
Managed by the Life Changes Trust, H&B funded 11 projects to explore innovative ways of providing housing support to those with experience of care as they moved into their first home. It aimed to improve experiences of home, connections in the community and transitions from care.
A rights-based participative approach prioritising care experienced young people’s voices was central to the project. In its first year, Children in Scotland and Staf worked with three young people with experience of care to develop the project approach.
In year three Children in Scotland employed a project assistant with experience of care to support the development of the evaluation and be involved in the final analysis.
David Mackay, Children in Scotland’s policy & projects manage and project lead, said: “Despite challenges presented by the pandemic, Home and Belonging produced many examples of how a model based on participation and lived experience can deliver for care experienced young people.
“On the back of these findings, we believe there is potential for continued embedding of participation and a transfer of decision-making from adults to young people so they can be more involved in decisions about their lives.
“Children in Scotland and Staf would like everyone committed to supporting care experienced young people to take forward the learning from Home and Belonging and support this participative approach. It needs to become the norm.”
Jo Derrick, chief executive of Staf, said: “There are few things in life as important as having a sense of home and belonging. Too often we hear from young people with care experience of the challenges they face having even their most basic needs met in this regard.
"Staf is proud to have worked with Children in Scotland on the Home and Belonging initiative to ensure young people’s voice has been integral to the evaluation and the subsequent key findings and recommendations.
“We stand ready to support Scotland to take these recommendations forward. We want to ensure that relationships, and a recognition that young people are experts in their own lives, are viewed as having equal importance to high-quality provision of housing.”