Avoiding Care-Cliff: supporting young care leavers in Hampshire

Many young people leaving care, particularly those who were in residential care homes, describe their experience as a ‘care-cliff’. They find themselves over the cliff-edge of support into independent living; on their own, managing finances, housing, shopping, cooking and other life tasks with no one to turn to. This may have a negative impact on their lives well into adulthood.

Professor Anita Franklin from University of Portsmouth has been asked to evaluate Hampshire’s Staying Close provision delivered by Fair Ways Foundation and Portsmouth City Council.

‘Staying Close’ is a pilot scheme commissioned by the Department for Education. It aims to provide an intensive support package tailored to prepare young people aged 16 plus for adult life and independence, and to offer continuing support for young adults.

We are delighted to be undertaking this evaluation which places a specific emphasis on seeking to find out what works, and does not work from the perspectives of the young people who are part of ‘Staying Close’.

Professor Franklin will be working with the young people themselves to understand how it feels to be in the programme, what benefits they are gaining and most importantly what could be done better.

It is hoped that the ‘Staying Close’ project will enable better outcomes for young people leaving care in terms of their health and well-being, engagement with education, employment or training, their financial stability, relationships, self-management and life skills and having secure accommodation.

Professor Anita Franklin says, “We are delighted to be undertaking this evaluation which places a specific emphasis on seeking to find out what works, and does not work from the perspectives of the young people who are part of ‘Staying Close’. Portsmouth City Council and Fair Ways Foundation have shown a commitment to learning from the views of young people, and from the support workers on the frontline of this government funded initiative in order to improve the lives of care leavers now and for their long-term futures.”

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