Supporting and working with young people in care placements

Five steps to support

The steps below are good practice from Llamau on how best to deliver support to young people in care placements. Below these are downloadable resources to create your own support plans with young people.

Step 1 – Creating security 

  • Ensuring needs are met and home feels safe 
  • Access to food & toiletries (FairShare/Beauty Banks) 
  • Benefits check/maximising income 
  • Person-centred conversations  
  • Engagement at the right pace for each person 
  • Empathic listening 
  • Risk assessment tools
  • Safeguarding processes (contextual & exploitation) 

We try to ensure young people know that the team are always welcoming, and happy to talk and provide support, proving that we are worth trusting, and are reliable and consistent. Providing a safe and non-judgemental space for young people who want to talk (about just about anything!) 

We make sure young people know any routines, structure, rights and responsibilities of their home, and that this is a calm, safe and friendly environment for them. 

We also go through the limits of confidentiality and how we share their information, including multi-agency partnership working, and safeguarding, and we are always monitoring for signs of exploitation and abuse. 

 Step 2 – Making sense together 

  • Support Planning & key-working (you can access Llamau’s support plans below)
  • Regular support sessions (formal & informal) / access to any mental health toolkits 
  • Consider Clinical Psychologists
  • Reflective practice; team support; 1:1 support; counselling service 
  • Mediation
  • Support to rebuild family relationships, neighbour and community relationships 
  • Healthy relationship workers
  • Support around domestic abuse, healthy/unhealthy relationships, or exhibiting signs of perpetrator behaviours 

Support Planning and key-work  – Regular support sessions, both formal and informal, including completing our Mental Health and Wellbeing Toolkit which helps to support young people with a range of mental health conditions, including PTSD, at an earlier stage, facilitating better access to specialist services.  

Research conducted in partnership with Cardiff University showed that this toolkit, combined with support has enabled young people to better manage their own mental health.  

Can ensure via the support plan that all areas of need are being addressed, from ensuring that young people are registered with a local GP, accessing specialist mental health services to exploring education, training and employment opportunities as well as access to local services for positive social activities and other services.  We link our Support Plans with others young people may have e.g. CLA Reviews / Pathway Plans, to avoid duplication. 

Clinical Psychologists  – Reflective practice sessions and team support, and now piloting provision of a counselling service which our young people can access at the point at which they both need it and are motivated to engage with it. 

Assertive Outreach Workers enabling young people to ‘step into’ well-being , training and employment providing vital linkages and opportunities to build confidence ahead of further ETE opportunities. 

Family Mediation Working with young people and family members to re-build relationships, building life-long skills to manage relationships with neighbours and the community making sure there are as many informal support networks for each young person as possible. 

Step 3 – Developing skills 

  • Dreams/aspirations what does each young person want their life/future to look like?
  • Support to build skills  
  • Support to meet needs and overcome barriers advocate for young people’s needs, ensuring they access support they need e.g. mental health/substance misuse. 
  • Learning Training and Employment – a range of opportunities to flexible meeting young people’s needs. 

Working on dreams and aspirations (and for some – making sure our young people know they can have these!)  Support planning to build skills, experience, confidence and independence.  Focussing on strengths, positives and achievements. 

Referring to / signposting to other agencies to meet specialist needs.

Making sure young people have all the support they need to overcome barriers – and are supported to engage with that support. 

Working in partnership e.g. with the CLA team, Probation, YOS, Barod, Communities for Work and  CAB making sure young people are housed in the right place, at the right time for them. Taking a multi-agency approach can also ensure that we are also able to be solution focused when issues and challenges arise so that we intervene as early and effectively as possible and support young people to succeed. 

Education Training and Employment- Young people we are supporting will be able to access pre-vocational training supporting young people who have previously disengaged from traditional mainstream education and need a step into other provision. 

Step 4 – New Experiences 

Many young people accessing support have usually not had the luxury of opportunity that other young people have.  We support them to access these opportunities – day trips / sports / activities / EET / volunteering / work placements etc.  Helping them to find out what they like and are good at, and what doesn’t work so well for them. 

Establishing partnerships with businesses who provide the young people supported with opportunities to attend events and social activities which otherwise would simply not be affordable for them. Examples include rock climbing, ice-skating, tickets to concerts at Principality Stadium, sports matches, cinema and the theatre.  

Funding also secured during Covid for all young people in supported accommodation placements with us to have a smart phone and tablet, to help us communicate with them, help with feelings of isolation and help with any education or training that moved online)   

Using social media to promote campaigns – “My First Job” campaign which also generated some new leads for work placements. 

Step 5 – Moving on to the next adventure 

Becoming more independent – whatever that may be…. New Job / New Training / New family or education. 

Utilising a range of funds available to support this where there are no other alternatives e.g: 

  • Bursary Scheme –  grants to support access into education, work or training. (e.g. IT equipment, interview clothing and CSCS cards.) 
  • Rent Deposit Scheme – Opportunity to apply for a cash deposit, first month’s rent and a move-in grant.  This removes the significant practical barriers young people face in accessing their own home, and particularly private rented accommodation and we work closely with private landlords to encourage them to accept young people we are supporting. 
  • Levelling the playing field Scheme – flexible funding to ‘make that all important difference’ for someone e.g. provide IT , household equipment, course fees for those who cannot apply for other funding or where other funding does not exist 
  • Agreements with local authority partners – e.g. work done with colleagues in the Vale 15+ team to create a pathway of support using private rented homes for young people that are care leavers. We link in with the team to access grants and ensure care experienced young people are able to obtain their full entitlements including housing rate benefits and exemptions so that they have affordable housing options.    
  • Grant funding to provide young people with a ‘starter pack’ of anything that will enable a young person to be able to attend a work placement/ training programme or employment setting, whether it be IT equipment, clothing, equipment specific to the course, such as hairdressing or cookery.  

Open door approach providing a safety net – just because a young person has their own place, and ended support, doesn’t mean we don’t care, they know they can get back in touch any time if they need a bit of support again, and either we can provide that as a one off to prevent things escalating, or refer them of for any support they might need.