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A journey of a New Zealand transition from care to independence programme Presented by Amee Nicholson, Davinia Abbott and Sharna Cocker.

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Presentation on theme: "A journey of a New Zealand transition from care to independence programme Presented by Amee Nicholson, Davinia Abbott and Sharna Cocker."— Presentation transcript:

1 A journey of a New Zealand transition from care to independence programme Presented by Amee Nicholson, Davinia Abbott and Sharna Cocker

2 While research suggests that; Transition from Care to Independence needs to be seen as a process rather than a one off event… That transition works best when the young person is encouraged to lead and be in control… That two years planning and preparation is ideal… …………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………

3 The shocking truth in NZ is that: Many children are abruptly exited from care on their 17 th birthday

4 The raw deal of this abrupt exit means that kids with; Unresolved trauma, lack of connection, limited life skills, poor academic achievement, limited supports, an underdeveloped sense of self are discharged out into the world to go it alone

5 Dingwall Trust recognized this need and as a result Launch Care to Independence service was developed As a pilot programme in 2004 Initial focus on development of independent living skills Over time Launch learning journey identified that to truly develop Inter-dependence Young People transitioning from care require an increased sense of; Self worth, Acceptance, Connection.

6 A successful outcome for young people Increased self worth, Acceptance, Connection. Increased capacity for change. Achievement of goals; plans for future, natural supports in place, increased ability to sustain relationships, career, education, and accommodation

7 Development of model of best practice In order to target the central issue- that Young People exiting care require more than just their material needs to be met- it became apparent that a more robust approach, tailored to the needs of Care leavers in New Zealand required development

8 INFLUENCES Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Attachment theory Te Whare Tapa Wha Model Maslow's Hierarchy of needs Davinia Abbotts Masters research on Young People leaving care in NZ Case experience

9 Tailored to individual needs Flexible Development of confidence and skills required towards successful transition Key to success Of therapeutic value Youth leaving CYF are target group Youth cant 'fail' their transition Key Underlying Principles Relationship Based Holistic Approach Change Focus

10 Key underlying principles Young People cant fail their transition as they have little choice in the fact that they will have to manage on their own- with or without the skill set required to succeed Transition from Care to Independence does not provide care- but does provide a service which is caring Basic needs of the Young Person must be met- these needs include food, housing, emotional support Risk is a pre requisite for growth. Graded exposure to new experiences (rather than full immersion) provides best opportunities for safe skill development

11 Relationship Based Care to Independence recognises that the relationship between the Personal Advisor and the Young Person is key to achieving progress This relationship has the opportunity to have therapeutic value as Young People exiting care can experience difficulty developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships which can potentially impede their progress into wider society

12 Relationship based The relationship is based on a consistent theme of unconditional support and unyielding positive regard in all interactions/ interventions. (Personal Advisors are supported by their supervisor to achieve this) Reflective practice is key to overcoming obstacles which may arise in relating with the Young Person

13 Holistic Approach The service is tailored to the needs of each Young Person taking into account their gender, culture, history, spiritual values, family structure, social and economic needs Transition takes time- happens at different times for different young people; therefore we advocate for flexible timeframes to suit Young Peoples individual needs We work on the premise that each Young Persons particular presentation (behaviour, belief and attitude) makes sense in terms of their prior experiences

14 Change Focus Acceptance of where a Young Person is at AND we introduce the notion of change Young People require an increased skill set to function in wider society Initial focus is on current skill level with a view to increasing competence across targeted domains in Young Persons life

15 Change focus At times the role of Personal Advisor is to be directive in supporting best choices for Young Person- assisting Young Person to locate their wise mind Education and employment are key aspects to a successful and positive future

16 CARE TO INTERDEPENDENCE MODEL Tailored to individual needs Flexible Development of confidence and skills required towards successful transition Key to success Of therapeutic value Youth leaving care are target group Youth cant fail their transition Key Underlying Principles Relationship Based Holistic Approach Change Focus

17 EVALUATION OF THE PROGRAMME Programme feedback from the perspective of young people

18 Aims of the research Evaluate material, practical and emotional outcomes and highlight the specific intervention of the Launch programme. Highlight themes found in participants foster care experience which impacted on their transition to independence. Review ways engagement with the programme sought to re-dress the imbalances faced by care leavers Deliver feedback on how the programme was perceived by young people.

19 Research Design Qualitative interpretive research – for depth of understanding young peoples experience of programme Purposeful sampling – Participants were randomly selected from a sample of clients with certain characteristics i.e. length of time in the programme, over the age of 17 Semi structured interviews with young people

20 The sample A total of seven young people participated in the study aged between 19-21 years Time spent with the Launch programme ranged from 2-5 years Time spent in State care ranged from 6mths to 5 years Age of entry into State care ranged from 11-15 years The majority of participants were female

21 Findings – Material (Accommodation, Education, Income) Accommodation support provided through the Launch programme was significant for those who had limited support options. The whole thing was helpful, having someone young experience that. Because they didnt just put you in there, they kinda taught you how to do it, pay your bills on time and everything. It was pretty cool. Educational attainment leaving care was low and PA support to continue into higher education was sought by most participants

22 Findings – Material (Accommodation, Education, Income) All participants had received government income support during their transition to independence. However obtaining income still required skill development [The PA] does encourage me to do it myself but if I get stuck then I can talk to [the PA], like Study Link I did most of it but when I came to something I didnt know I just called and asked [the PA]. [The PA] is trying to make me more independent you know, instead of holding my hand the whole way. Back in the beginning I never would have rung up Study Link if I had a problem, it would be just like itll go away. But of course it doesnt and now if there is a problem or a question Ill just ring, I wont be sitting by the phone all nervous.

23 Findings – Physical outcomes (Living skills, engagement with services & transport) View on living skills developed through Launch: A whole lot of them, but budgeting. I was useless and still am kind of but not as bad as I was. I used to just spend everything in one go. They [PA] taught me how to budget. Engagement with health services. The PA was reported to have a role with setting up engagements with health professionals. Six young people were supported by Launch to attained their restricted or full driver licence.

24 Findings – Emotional Stability (Social Networks, mental health, drug and alcohol use) The young peoples descriptions of their social networks was largely more positive compared to the review of the literature Proactively enquiring about mental health was preferable to self reporting for some participants Individual mentoring and group programmes were reported to help develop relationship/ social skills Four participants fitted the category of problematic or hazardous use on entry to the Launch programme

25 Findings – Through care experiences & redressing imbalance Through care experiences discussions highlighted the disruption of change; changes in foster placement, changes in communities, changes in schools, changes in Social Workers. Such disruptions led to reduced interest/ ability to participate in decision making.

26 Findings – Through care experiences Frequent changes in foster care placement reported Inconsistency of professionals Reduced ability/ interest in participating in decision making Limited development/ sense of self Limited intervention to help repair strained family relationships Promotion and maintenance of family connection did occur.

27 Findings – Redressing imbalance Support into or with maintaining suitable and stable accommodation. Perceived consistency of PA developed through regular and reliable contact. Involvement of YP in decision making. Incorporation of family and community supports in decisions making. Role of PA as a motivator to sustain engagement in YPs chosen goal. Provision of group social activities

28 Findings – Programme feedback Perceived communication barriers Finding a good fit between the young person and their PA Participants advice for young people entering the programme Make the most of it, just have an open heart cause you learn a lot I mean the skills you pick up there you wouldnt pick up anywhere]..[ we werent going back home anytime soon, like there wasnt family member to go back to, so yeah those skills really helped, they were really supportive

29 Conclusions and implications for practice A young persons through care experience does influence their readiness to transition to independence. Changes of professionals can lead to reduced interest to invest in relationships with new professionals Participants built trust in Launch only after the PA demonstrated consistent commitment to them both in times of change and times of stability. PA allocation and resolution of worker/ client relationships issues is significant. Young people talked about their PA as motivating rather than pressuring. Making positive and sustainable connections with social services and youth resources were enhanced with PA involvement. Connections with long term community supports and informal social networks are integral.

30 THE ROLE OF THE PERSONAL ADVISOR Key components of an instrumental relationship

31 Supporting a Successful Transition Research Project Objectives Explore the Personal Advisors (PAs) perceptions and experiences of working with youth in a Transition from Care to Independence (TCI) programme Examine the working relationship between a young person and a PA and how this relationship may support a successful transition

32 Motivation What makes certain people suitable for this role? Little in the way of academic studies Similar to a mentoring role Only 3 programmes in NZ offering this service Increased popularity of transition programmes internationally

33 Research Themes Issues of consistency and reliability Person of significance Healthy interpersonal relationships Consistent with international literature Considered by participants to be important elements and attributes of those working in transition programmes.

34 Issues of Consistency and Reliability Consistent In the relationship In the approach one thing I always let them know though is that you are always gonna be there when the ups and downs are happening, especially the downs Caring Genuine care Used interchangeably with support in international literature

35 Issues of Consistency and Reliability cont.. Reliable Being reliable/punctual Providing reliable and accurate information Committed To the programme To the young person

36 Person of Significance Suitable previous experience Experiences young people can relate too Advocating Enhanced the development of self-esteem Ensured young people get the financial support they are entitled too

37 Mutual commitment and connection Investment in the relationship Holistic approach Mentoring role Teaching skills Unconditional support, guidance and encouragement Its a blend of a lot of different types of roles. Sometimes….. I feel like a teacher, or, you know, community general expert

38 Healthy Interpersonal Relationships Trust Development of Relational skills Teaching of Acquisition of Understanding Communicating understanding

39 In practice Young people require consistent boundaries and information Personal Advisors need to be non-judgemental in their teaching Building rapport takes time

40 Youth led Fluctuating levels of support Flexibility A holistic approach and networking skills

41 Contact details: 0800 DINGWALL (0800 34649255) Email:

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