Improving Care Services: Strategies for Enhancing Support in Supported Accommodation

Mar 07, 2024

It's vital that we improve outcomes for care leavers. A crucial element of this involves enhancing the support we offer in supported accommodation for 16-17 year olds.

Regulation 7 of the Supported Accommodation (England) Regulations 2023 sets out the ‘Support standard.’ This is one of four Quality Standards that Registered Providers must meet as part of their Ofsted registration as they help young people transition to adulthood. It covers a number of ways that support should be provided to young people. These include:

  • Tailoring support to meet the individual needs of the young person, including ensuring a support plan is put in place for care leavers in supported accommodation ensuring they are given the help they need to transition to adulthood and safely out of the supported accommodation.
  • Enabling the care leaver to take a lead role in determining the support you provide.
  • Regular reviews of support.
  • Working closely with the relevant local authority.
  • Helping young people work with others who offer youth services who can help them on their care leaver journey, such as advocates and training providers.
  • Providing a written guide for young people arriving in the supported accommodation about the support which is available for them.
  • Ensuring support meets the needs of care leavers in 16+ semi-independent accommodation to develop the skills needed for independent living, including accessing education, training or employment.

Read on to learn more about how you can enhance the support you provide to young people in supported accommodation.

How to enhance support in supported accommodation

Enhancing the support offered in supported accommodation is more than just a regulatory requirement; it's a commitment to the future of young people transitioning into adulthood. Here are some strategies to ensure your service not only meets but exceeds these expectations.

Personal Pathway Plans

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work when it comes to supporting young individuals with diverse needs and backgrounds. Crafting personalised Pathway Plans involves sitting down with each young person, understanding their unique circumstances, aspirations, and challenges. This collaborative process empowers them, giving them a voice and a sense of ownership over their future. Regularly updating these plans ensures they remain relevant and responsive to the young person's evolving needs.

Giving young people the knowledge and guidance they need

Care leavers must be equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed choices and live their young adult life post-care. As such, they need strong and supportive information and guidance on a huge range of things, from life skills, like cooking, to support discovering what they want to do next, whether that’s education or work.

I’ve written a workbook for 16 and 17 year olds who are on their care leaver journey, enabling support workers to meet the needs of the young people in their care. It covers everything from financial literacy to meeting their mental health needs.

Collaborate and train

The journey of a care leaver is interconnected with various parties, from local authorities to the care workers in your supported accommodation. There should be coordination meetings, sharing of progress, and joint planning to enhance support. It’s your responsibility to ensure the skills of a residential child care worker responsible for contributing to the support of the young person is adequately trained in delivering the support that care leavers need.

Create a culture of support

Beyond the structured support processes (such as policies), the culture within the accommodation plays a pivotal role. A welcoming, inclusive environment where young people feel safe and valued can significantly impact their wellbeing and development. It bolsters their resilience and their ability to receive the support provided. As such, it’s crucial that as a Registered Provider for care experienced young people that the supported accommodation is homely, caring and a pleasant place to be where staff have good relationships with each other and the young people.

Enhance access to education, employment and housing

The bridge to independence for young people in supported accommodation often lies in supporting them in three core areas: education, employment and housing support. Each young person’s needs are unique, but taking steps to improve the support you can offer in these three areas is the bedrock of long-term success. You can take various different steps, such as forging partnerships with local colleges, employers, landlords and housing associations.

Get savvy with available digital tools

Technology can play a crucial role in enhancing support for care leavers. From digital tools for managing personal finances to apps for mental health support, these digital resources can help provide support in a way young people are receptive to. I talk about various digital resources for care leavers in the workbook.
By enhancing the support in supported accommodation you can ensure care experienced young people are not just surviving but thriving as they transition to independence.

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