At Staf we work to connect our members to increase good practice and improve the lives of care leavers. As part of this work, we will produce a series of blogs that summarise the key strengths identified by the Care Inspectorate in inspections of Staf members.

 

In this blog we look at the joint inspection of services for children and young people in Fife completed in April. Here’s what’s working well in Fife in delivering services for young people leaving care and the practices that are driving improvements in performance.

What’s working well?

 

Relationship-based practice

 

“Most care experienced young people benefited from consistent, positive relationships from helpful staff who are caring, available and flexible in their approach to providing ongoing support.”

 

The Care Inspectorate note that an increase in capacity in the young people’s team has let to positive outcomes for young people, including the development of positive relationships with staff and carers, as well as better support for the transition to independent living.

 

Delivery of Continuing Care and Staying Put

 

“Partners demonstrated a strong commitment to fulfilling the entitlement for looked after and accommodated young people to choose to remain in an existing care placement up until such time as they were ready and willing to gradually move on to more independent living arrangements.”

 

“Partners were working well to ensure that the principles of Staying Put Scotland and entitlement to continuing care for looked after young people was well understood and promoted.”

 

Continuing Care placements have grown from seven in August 2016 to 29 in August 2018.

 

Improvement in positive destinations

 

“The partnership has made considerable improvements in supporting care experienced young people leaving school and entering further or higher education, training or employment.”

 

In 2016-17, 80 per cent of looked after young people entered a positive school leaver destination, compared to 76 per cent across Scotland. At the six-month follow-up in that year, 91 per cent were still in a positive destination.

 

A number of policies are cited as supporting an increase in positive destinations:

  • Fife College has its own Champions Board.
  • The council has created a guaranteed interview scheme for care experienced young people for some jobs.
  • Opportunities for All and relationship-based practices have led to a drop in the number of young people not engaging with any service.
  • One-to-one approaches from the care leavers’ tracking forum.

 

Young people feel listened to and their views are acted upon, particularly during transitions

 

“Most care leavers felt that staff listened to them and acted on their views.”

 

“Our review of young people’s records and feedback from our survey showed that, in the majority of cases, care experienced young people were involved in developing and reviewing their pathway plan and most were aware of their advocacy rights.”

 

Where care experienced young people no longer want to engage with support, an innovation referred to as an ‘entitlement review’ positively challenges the young person and reminds them of their rights.

 

Young people feel supported when preparing to live independently

 

“Most care experienced young people felt well supported in learning life skills to help prepare them to live independently.”

 

The inspection report notes that the local authority has “increased its offer of supported lodgings”, which has increased the options available to young people to live independently. The council have also begun to test a “training flat for care leavers”, which will help them develop their life skills without losing the security of their placement.

 

As well as an increased capacity in the young people’s team, the Care Inspectorate also cite “effective use” of achievement and activity funding to allow young people to realise their goals.

 

Effective transitions protocol for mental health support

 

To support the transition from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to adult services, an effective transitions protocol is in place. To further improve this process, the local authority has committed to piloting a process for assessing and monitoring the physical and emotional health of young people leaving care.

 

You can read the Care Inspectorate report in full here. If you’re a Staf member and want to talk to us about best practice in your area or to learn more about the great work happening elsewhere, contact us at [email protected].