New panel established to help care leavers set up homes

Young people leaving care in Croydon are to receive extra help from the council to find a safe, secure and affordable home when they move to independent living.

Croydon looks after more children and young people than most other councils in the country. On average, young people are 23 when they first seek to set up a home of their own, but the average age for those from council care who are striking out on their own and starting to live independently is much younger.

The council has established a housing and children’s social care panel to assess every care-experienced young person’s housing need before they reach the age of 18.

“A clear plan will help them secure a home where they can thrive – whether that’s supported lodgings, remaining with foster carers, Shared Lives accommodation, semi-independent shared housing with support, or university accommodation,” a statement from the council said.

Croydon works with 768 “care-experienced young people” up until the age of 25, helping them find suitable housing, accessing education, training and employment and emotional wellbeing support.

According to the council statement, “Through this new panel, the council will work to make sure every young person is helped into a home where they can be safe, secure and reach their full potential.”

Jason Perry, the Mayor of Croydon, said, “As corporate parents, we want to provide our young people with a safe and stable home while they are in our care and to help them secure housing that is right for them as they transition to adulthood… so that they can thrive and reach their full potential.”

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1 Response to New panel established to help care leavers set up homes

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    There are very clear reasons that there is a disparity of age in setting up home independently.

    One of those is the support networks for young people and real effective guidance that they trust. Both of the these tenets of youth development are sorely lacking within the public parenting model of Councils.

    Maybe this is due to resource?

    Maybe the reality that parenting is a costly business. Many bodies put the cost of raising children currently at £185,000. Maybe that is an arguable figure, I do not feel it is really accurate as there are too many variables, but thats the reseach and it is a decent stab at the reality.

    So in Croydon to meet that basic figure we are talking about £142,0080,000. Does that include the cost of providing public parents?
    So add two people at six 8 hour shifts 7 days a week on top. Even with economies of scale and one Public parent for multiple children linking to feed in services and you are talking of a sizeable sum every year. Perhaps Croydon Council would release that figure for say very year over the last 30 years in an FOI request?

    But frankly councils face an uphill struggle daily. As do all those hard working people involved with an overworked un-resourced and systemically inefficient system that arguably may not have the childs best interests as a top number 1 priority.

    Perhaps over the years many carers (social workers, Care home staff, support workers of many kinds, who did not mind the work, the hardships, and lets face it the dangers also as it was a vocation.

    A vocation with rewards being some incredible and successfull people coming from that system. Whether the public help was a help or a hinderence at that time would be down to the individual to say but I would lay a good bet those experiences shaped the person into how they are today.

    There are also thousands of not so famous people who have grown out of the care system, had their own families and became positive human beings to their families, the community and the country at large.

    Is this despite changes to those employee’s working conditions and the methods processes and regulations?
    Perhaps many today still view the work as a vocation and not a job. Is this reciprocated by their employer?
    Many public employers today appear to view employees in public service as a disposable resource to re-purpose, re-organise TUPE, or just make redundant at will. Loyal employee/employer relationships no longer exist for many.

    Many are now working by generic process in inhospitalble working environments without real effectivve organnisation support.

    How has this impacted on those Children?

    How many of these children have grown up in homes where there has been little oversight or resource? How many have suffered abuse, bullying from other children, violence and aggression at their ”safe place”, exposed to drugs and criminal activities from petty shoplifting to grevious bodily harm? How many are subjected to unremitting peer pressure due to a lack of effective oversight.

    Sadly I know quite a few of these in Croydon and seriously doubt those few are alone.
    I know them because I recognise them from over the years and as childhood acquaintances of my own children from school or sports clubs. Some went into the system early, some later, some were kicked out of home at 15/16 and got no shelter or support from this council.
    Some got guidance and verbal support but when they went for tangible help got turned away for so many reasons.

    Many of those reasons when followed up were due to the Councils actual ability to deliver and a managing of expectations. Many are process failures, mis-communication,some bias of the council person asked for help or a complete lack of trust of authority based on prior experience in the minor requiring help.

    A major issue though was the Council ability to actually provide what the child needed and in time – ie that day and continuing. Another issue is that places they are sent to are unsafe for them. A third is that many children without parents have suffered in some way and have behavioural issues along with trauma, and possible learning needs.
    But a key crucial need for any human is a safe space. A door that can lock securely and keep the harm away. People around them to support them in failure and celebrate in success and that have their needs as a priority.

    So this panal will be a godsend to those 768. If this is done well and resourced it would be the start of a gamechange for those children. It can be a benchmark to improve on, not just in Croydon.
    We should welcome this and follow it’s implementation.

    But it would be good to see those young children on the street from Broad Green to South end, at Lloyd park and other places in tents and sleeping bags, in the subways and shop fronts, all sleeping rough that do not receive help from this Council included in some way.
    Perhaps Croydon would like to do a Consultation on – Homelessness in the Borough v Webb estate to see what residents feel is a real priority?

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