Matt Smith, Team Leader (Children in Care - The House Project) introduced the report to the Committee and thanked members for the opportunity to present the update.
A brief background was given to the Housing Project confirming that it is a growing national project that supports young people who are leaving care and moving into their own property. The project helps them to prepare for independence while providing a community of support which continues to be available after they have moved.
Annie Cairns, House Project Support Worker introduced two young people who have been part of the House Project; Amarni Carnworth from House Project Cohort 1 & Elizabeth Carter from House Project Cohort 2. During a short presentation the following points were confirmed –
• Cohort 1 – 100% success rate in maintaining and sustaining tenancies. All young people have settled in very well. Officers have received very positive feedback from everyone in cohort 1.
• Cohort 2- young people are currently going through the process and are at various stages from just starting the project to waiting to move into a property within the next few weeks. All feel fully prepared for their next steps.
• Cohort 3 – Recruitment process will start from January 2021
• It was confirmed to the Committee that the House Project is currently looking for another base in the south of Warwickshire.
Elizabeth Carter from cohort 2 stated that the project was an amazing opportunity for care leavers and that her experience was positive and that she had received a lot of help – she then thanked officers involved for all their help.
Following a question from the Chair, it was confirmed that nothing from the process had failed to meet the expectations of Amarni and Elizabeth; but both felt that more work could be done with local landlords to explain the project to them and give them a better understanding of the tenants.
Councillor Jeff Morgan, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services gave his full support for the project confirming that it would be good to be able to extend it as much as possible. Some funding is available from the Government for the project but Warwickshire County Council is now building the project in to their budget and is no longer just relying on Government funding.
Sharon Shaw, Service Manager - Corporate Parenting noted that care leavers often live independently much earlier than others. The key is to ensure that young people are prepared to live independently and that they have a support network. The House Project has worked well in the support function. Officers are looking to expand the project across the county; and will need more support from District and Borough Councils. It was confirmed that the support is in place as long as it is needed.
Following a question from Councillor Corrine Davies, it was confirmed that places on the project are not offered to all care leavers. Peter Berridge, Social Work Operations Manager confirmed that young people are assessed ... view the full minutes text for item 4