Planning for leaving care (Part 2)
We have already considered how the development of Pathway Plans involves working closely with care leavers to consider the things that will be important to them during and after they leave care. We will now list some of the topics that might be included in a care leavers’ Pathway Plan.
1. Health and well-being
Health and wellbeing are not just about the physical needs of young people, but also and importantly, their emotional health and well-being. Social isolation, loneliness, and unresolved childhood trauma are all factors which can impact on the emotional well-being and mental health of young people leaving care. Actions to be taken in preparation for leaving care, and support after care, might include:
2. Personal development
Personal development is used to describe a young person’s interests, opinions, behaviours, attitudes, way of life and values. This can be particularly important for unaccompanied and separated children who do not have their usual family, community and peer support network to encourage and accompany them in pursuing their interests. Actions to be taken in preparation for leaving care and support after care might include:
3. Positive relationships
For many care leavers, building and maintaining positive relationships can be very important. This may be with their peers from their own cultural background as well as those in the local community they will be staying in. Also be aware of any possible negative connections that might be placing them at risk of exploitation. Actions to be taken in preparation for leaving care and support after care might include:
4. Learning and work
Unaccompanied and separated children may face specific challenges related to learning and work. For example, their legal status may impact their ability to access employment or education. They may not be able to speak the local language. They may face particular prejudice, stigma, and discrimination when seeking employment. Perhaps they may have missed long periods of schooling or come from an education system that has not prepared the child for the education provision in their new setting.
However, as much as is possible, helping the care leaver develop a vision for their future and drawing up a realistic plan for them to achieve that vision is a significant motivating factor for them. Having suitable employment or attending college can also foster the development of identity, resilience, and self-esteem. Exploring any possible employment and education options with them, and guiding them in making informed choices, might include:
We will continue with the topic of Pathway Plans in the next course step.