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4.23 Planning for Children and Young People: Pathway Plans including Needs Assessment - Practice Guidance

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter seeks to provide a framework around which questions and issues are raised that practitioners should seek to address / be aware of when undertaking needs assessment and completing a Pathway Plan. The emphasis is on undertaking this through a professional interest and dialogue approach with the young person, rather than as a bureaucratic ‘tick box style’ method. The process also acknowledges the practitioner should seek to understand the young person’s background and its impact upon their behaviour and thinking  - seeking to encourage the achievements that have been made.

RELEVENT GUIDANCE

DfE, The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations – Volume 3: planning transition to adulthood for care leavers (January 2015)

RELEVENT CHAPTERS

Support for Care Leavers – Succeeding into Adulthood Procedure

Southwark Staying Put Policy

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2016 to an exemplar for a Pathway Plan incorporating needs assessment, (see Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar).


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What’s the Assessment For?
  3. Sources of Information/Views/Wishes & Feelings to Inform Assessment
  4. Communication Needs
  5. Overall Aim of this Plan (What Outcomes do you want for this Child?)
  6. Summary of the Reasons for Being in Care / What's the Story?
  7. Legal Status Issues
  8. Health and Development Needs Including Issues Impacting on Health
  9. Education, Employment and Training Needs
  10. Emotional & Behavioural Development (Including Social Presentation)
  11. Identity Needs
  12. Family and Social Relationships
  13. Contact
  14. Skills for Independent Living
  15. Financial Arrangements
  16. Suitability of Accommodation
  17. Additional Matters

    Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar


1. Introduction

Effective planning for children and young people relies on accurate assessment of needs, setting realistic outcomes for those needs and then formulating the work required  to achieve those specified outcomes and address identified needs. (These principles apply to all plans for children regardless of the severity of their needs or the service area or practice group they are in touch with. So while the principles are the same for Children in Need, subject of Child Protection Plans and Looked After Care Plans, this practice guidance focuses specifically on planning for young people in care as they approach their sixteenth birthday.)

Government Guidance refers to these plans as Pathway Plans and distinguishes them from Care Plans. In line with this guidance we in Southwark change the name from Care Plan to Pathway Plan and use this as an opportunity to update our needs assessment with the young person so we can be as confident as possible that plans include the whole range of the young person’s needs as they begin to prepare for their life as an adult.

This is a checklist of things you need to think about as a social worker to develop a good Pathway Plan for a young person approaching 16 years of age. It follows the sections in the electronic recording system (Mosaic) from July 2015. 

Every young person is unique and the plan should be based on your assessment of the individual young person’s specific needs. You will probably be very aware of the key issues in the young person’s life and the most pressing needs these issues give rise to. This should be your starting point. While it’s important to focus first on the issues you judge as being key, it can be easy to overlook other important issues, so this is a reminder list for you as you gather information and come to write the plan, enabling you to check that you haven’t missed anything relevant.

It can be as unhelpful to include irrelevant information, as it is to miss out relevant information, so focus only on those issues you judge to be relevant to this young person at this point in their life.  The quality of the Plan will, to a large extent, depend on the quality of the information you gather and this in turn will depend on the quality of the relationship you establish with the young person. Relationships are complex and it may be that for some reason it has not been possible to develop a good relationship. If this is the case then discuss in your practice group supervision, if another worker might be more able to establish the positive working relationship needed. Always bear in mind this is the young person’s plan and base the assessment, which underpins the Plan, on conversations with the young person during your telephone consultation, routine visits and meetings.

DO NOT USE THIS AS A LIST OF QUESTIONS OR A TICK BOX SHEET WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.  ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THEIR PLAN AND GET SIGN UP. AS FAR AS YOU CAN, MAKE THE PATHWAY PLAN A JOINT EFFORT.

Write the plan succinctly and in straightforward language avoiding jargon. Be aware that this is a very sensitive time for young people in Year 11 as they prepare for GCSEs and leaving secondary school and make decisions about college, training, work etc.  

(See Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar).


2. What’s the Assessment For?

A needs assessment during the young person’s 15th year is required so that there is a pathway (action) plan, focused specifically on the needs of the young person as they move towards adulthood.

For most young people, planning for adulthood means learning, over time, how to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to live independently. Some young people leaving care will need support throughout their adult lives and the plan for them should focus on the support that will be needed to enable them to achieve the maximum degree of independence possible.


3. Sources of Information/Views/Wishes & Feelings to Inform Assessment

People to include Yes No If no, why not?
Young person      
Mother      
Father      
Other family/connected person/partner      
Carer and Supervising Social Worker      
Teacher/SENCO/College tutor      
Education Adviser      
Carelink or other CAMHS/Counsellor      
Health (LAC Medical Adviser/School Nurse)      
Employment Advisor (Matthew Izekor)      
Independent Visitor/Advocate      
IRO      
Other professional/significant person      

Has proper consideration been given to the role birth family might play in the young person’s life? Ask yourself if the needs of the birth family have been addressed. Has the care plan to date addressed those needs? If there are unaddressed needs might addressing them now enable birth family to play a part in the young person’s future? It’s unlikely you are planning a return to birth family but young people are likely to be reconsidering their relationship with their birth family at this stage in their lives and we know that many return to birth families at some point. If the same problems which led to separation still exist in the birth family, the young person risks the emotional consequences of further breakdown and rejection. It is always important to try and address the needs of birth family whether or not a return home is planned. Consider if a Family Group Conference might be a useful way to start on outstanding issues.

Check  that all relationships are updated with contact details on the electronic record with an up-to-date genogram. Direct work with the young person based on genogram and eco-mapping may reveal important connections and sources of support for the young person.


4. Communication Needs

What are the communication needs for young person or their parent?

Factors to consider Yes No Comment
Developmental delay      
English not first language      
Deaf or hearing impaired      
Blind or visually impaired      
Other issue e.g. autistic spectrum      
How does young person like to communicate?      

Good communication skills are essential for a host of reasons and will certainly ease a young person’s transition to adulthood. Without such skills it will be much more difficult for the young person to form positive relationships, succeed in further education or find fulfilling employment. As a result opportunities are likely to be reduced making young people more vulnerable to crime, exploitation, drug misuse and mental health difficulties.

Aside from obvious communication needs listed above, consider too the young person’s needs in terms of their ability to explain, express themselves, present information, listen to others and question information presented to them. Note how the young person responds to introductions – are they able to respond positively and maintain eye contact or do they withdraw into themselves?

Think about how you communicate too. Young people don’t respond well if they feel criticised, lectured to or judged, so it’s important to maintain a respectful, interested, professional stance. For example, don’t reel off a list of things the young person has done you feel were unwise but instead ask how these things happened and how best the young person thinks you might help her/him to manage the situation now.


5. Overall Aim of this Plan (What Outcomes do you want for this Child?)

The plan should set out how identified needs will be addressed over time so that the young person can make the best possible transition to adulthood. Once you and the young person have identified the needs you can decide together which needs to address first, agree on the outcomes you want to achieve for those needs, and a realistic timescale for achieving each outcome.

You need to come back to this section once you’ve thought about and recorded the other sections.

See Exemplar plan.

Some obvious outcomes in the transition to adulthood for any young person would be:

  • Having a home;
  • Achieving full potential in education;
  • Career success;
  • Being healthy;
  • Having positive relationships;
  • Involvement in meaningful, enjoyable activities.

However these outcomes are universal and outcomes in Pathway Plans will be more specific because they will be based on the very specific needs of the individual young person. So rather that thinking about the young person’s need to have a home the need might be broken down outlining the needs to be addressed on the way to living independently:

  • Young person needs to understand how to budget;
  • Young person needs to improve their cooking skills;
  • Young person needs to understand how to set up a tenancy agreement.

Outcomes relating to these needs might be:

  • Young person has worked out projected weekly expenditure and set it against weekly income;
  • Young person has cooked supper twice a week for three weeks in his foster home;
  • Young person has explained how tenancy agreements are set up and how they work.

These outcomes are then steps on the way to getting a home rather than trying to get there in one fell swoop – and risking failure.

Think about what the young person cares about MOST and start with the need that relates to this – much more likely to engage the young person and result in a plan that makes a real difference.  Plans which focus on the development of social and emotional capabilities (harder to measure) are likely to have a greater long-term impact on positive life outcomes than those focusing on more practical goals – for example the number of exam results or reduction in criminal convictions. The best plans contain a mixture of both.

Thinking about emotional needs it might be that the young person needs:

  • To understand why his mother does not want him to return to live with her;
  • To know that this is not his fault.

The outcomes linked to these needs might be:

  • Young person has described the things that happened to his mother that make it hard for her to care for him;
  • Young person can describe his success in avoiding difficulties his mother found it hard to avoid;
  • Young person has agreed with his mother the times they will see each other.

So the challenge in developing an effective pathway plan with a particular young person is to avoid universal needs and universal outcomes and to ensure that needs, outcomes and action plans to achieve outcomes specified relate directly to the unique circumstances of the young person in question. A test of a good plan is to ask yourself – if I read this plan not knowing the young person concerned would I have a fairly good idea of their story? If your answer is ‘yes’ – you can be fairly confident that your plan relates directly to the young person in question.

Useful tool

Southwark & Lambeth Public Health (Your Wellbeing & Happiness in Southwark 2014) outlines 5 ways to achieve wellbeing based on evidence:

  • Connect (with people around you - family, friends & neighbours);
  • Be active (exercise of any nature makes you feel good);
  • Take notice (awareness of the world and what you feel);
  • Keep learning (learning something new & set a challenge that you will enjoy achieving);
  • Give (helping someone else helps you to feel better).

This tool may help you in thinking about outcomes relating to the young person’s social and emotional needs rather than focusing solely on outcomes relating to practical skills and knowledge.

The plan will incorporate the actions based on needs in the dimensions below.

Note: Since the Children & Families Act 2014, it is possible for young people to Stay Put in foster care. (See Southwark Staying Put Policy). This will depend on the quality of the relationship between the young person and their foster carer. Staying put assumes agreement between both the young person and the foster carer to such a plan so consider both parallel and contingency plans in the event that this is not possible for some reason at the time.

(See Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar).


6. Summary of the Reasons for being in Care/What’s the Story?

Areas to Cover Yes No Comment
Social care involvement prior to care      
Dates & Categories of CP registration      
Dates and type of legal orders including note of immigration status if relevant      
Dates/Placement change chart      

Read the social work chronology. If there is not a chronology you need to read the files and write one.  Check any historical court documents for a chronology.  A clear knowledge and understanding of the child’s history including the circumstances that led to separation from birth family and their history since separation is essential to an accurate assessment of the young person’s needs. Without such knowledge it is not possible to identify the key themes in the young person’s story, the needs the story give rise to, the outcomes we might realistically expect to achieve or to decide how the pathway plan might achieve the outcomes specified.

See Chronologies Practice Guidance.

It is important to understand the extent of any adverse experiences the young person experienced in childhood as this will assist in determining the severity of the young person’s needs and consequently the outcomes that can be realistically hoped for. Understanding the seriousness of needs will also be important in determining the intensity of the service that will be needed to enable the young person to achieve the maximum independence possible and will also indicate how long a service will be needed for. As we know the needs of some Looked After young people are likely to extend well into adulthood and for some support will be needed for the rest of their lives.

There can be a tendency in Care Plans to focus on the child’s placement and placement stability leaving any needs arising from adverse circumstances the child experienced prior to becoming looked after unattended to. It is important, even at this late stage, to identify and address these needs. The greater the number of adverse circumstances the child has experienced the more the child’s vulnerability increases and the more urgent the need to attend to these issues.

Useful tool

Research indicates that the presence of the following issues in a child’s history is likely to increase the child’s vulnerability (the more adverse childhood experiences, the more vulnerability is likely):

  • Recurrent Physical Abuse;
  • Recurrent Emotional Abuse;
  • Sexual Abuse;
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household;
  • Household member in prison;
  • Family member chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalised or suicidal;
  • Mother treated violently;
  • One or no parents;
  • Physical neglect;
  • Emotional neglect.

It is vital for you as the social worker to be clear about the reasons the child is in care and even more important for the young person to have a coherent sense of their own story which includes the reasons for separation from birth family. It may be that the family tell a different version of the story and the young person needs help to make sense of the different versions. Without such help the young person will find it hard to formulate a clear sense of themselves as an independent autonomous individual.  Has there been on-going direct work with the young person so they have a clear understanding of their “life story” so far?

(See Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar).


7. Legal Status Issues

Needs to consider Yes No Comment
s.20 or ICO/CO     Copy of agreement or order uploaded to record?
LBS or P & V Fostering     P & V funding approved?
Reg 24 family and friends     Who's assessing under Fostering regs?
Placement with Parents     Agreed by Director as per regs?
Contact Order or other order     For who/amount?
Criminal conviction or caution     Date/offence/sentence
Any appearance in the Youth Court pending?     Date/offence?
British Citizen     Who's got the passport?
Unaccompanied minor with limited leave to remain    

Until ?date

Who's got the papers/passport?
Leave to remain     Who's got the papers/passport?
No current status, application to Home Office     Who's got the papers/passport?
No current status     Who is to accompany young person to obtain legal advice/advocacy?

What’s the legal foundation for our involvement and placement history?


8. Health and Development Needs including Issues Impacting on Health

Click here to view the Health and Development Needs table.

Young people leaving care in Southwark think social workers are obsessed with GPs, dentists and opticians, which probably reflects the priority given by local authorities to national performance indicators. It is worth bearing in mind in this context that most young people - that is, those young people living at home with their families – do not have health plans, they just go to the doctor when the need arises.

It will be helpful to check out what concerns the young person might have about their health more broadly, including their emotional well being. For example, you might want to have a conversation with them about how they would cope in tough times – perhaps a relationship breakdown - or disappointment about a housing transfer - or talking about the time in their life when they were happiest and what it was that made them feel happy?

Useful tools


9. Education, Employment and Training Needs

Click here to view the Education, Employment and Training Needs table.

Ask yourself – do you think  the young person believes in themselves and their capacity to make a difference to their own lives and the world around them? If not why not and what education and training needs does this give rise to?

Note: Applications for Further Education should be in by 31st Jan in Year 11 to begin September of Year 12. Foster carers should support young people to visit colleges prior to application.  Year 10 & 11 off roll should have out of school PEP with consideration by Fair Access Panel to get back into education. Young people should be enrolled in education provision that is at least Ofsted rated GOOD or better. Seek advice from LAC Education Advisers.


10. Emotional & Behavioural Development (including Social Presentation)

Click here to view the Emotional & Behavioural Development table.

Emotional wellbeing requires an ability to be aware of, reflect on, regulate and accept your own feelings and to read and empathise with the feelings of others. Acquiring these skills is often an extra challenge for looked after children whose emotional development is likely to have been affected by experiences of loss and rejection. Think about what, if any, the young person’s needs in these areas might be and especially how the young person communicates and manages their feelings and behaviour when things are not going well in their lives.  Young people may be particularly vulnerable to the break- up of relationships as this may re-stimulate previous feelings and experiences of loss and rejection.  Direct work to promote the development of “emotional literacy” is crucial to helping young people to understand their feelings and connect feelings to thoughts and behaviour.

Useful tool

Scoring the Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire (for age 4-17)

Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire

DUST Substance Screening tool in Mosaic may be helpful here and report findings of any tools used under section - Health.

(See Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar).


11. Identity Needs

Needs to consider Yes No Comments
Progress on life story work/understanding of reasons for care     What has been offered?
Later life letter in case of person in care from adoption disruption      
Is young person self confident?      
Do they take pride in their appearance?      
Do they take pride in their achievements?      
Has sense of own culture?      
Is comfortable with own racial identity?      
At ease with own sexual orientation?      
Confident in relationships with friends of either sex?      
Chooses own friends?      
Able to make decisions on appropriate matters?      
Blames self for parent's difficulties?      
Feels everything is out of control      
Has a faith, is agnostic, is atheist?     What faith?
What denomination/sect?      
Attends church/mosque etc.     Which one?

Developing a positive sense of self is a key developmental task in adolescence. If the task is successfully achieved young people’s chances of developing positive self-esteem will be greatly increased. Healthy self esteem makes it much more likely that young people will see themselves as worthy of being loved themselves and be more able to love others; be more able to look after themselves physically and emotionally; persist in overcoming difficulties; be more likely to disentangle themselves from abusive relationships and situations and generally live happier and more fulfilling lives.

Reference has been made in Section 6, Summary of the Reasons for Being in Care / What's the Story? to the importance of you, as a social worker, understanding the child’s story in order to make an accurate needs assessment which also pays attention to the severity of the needs identified. The child’s story has a more specific importance in assessing the child’s identity needs. For Looked After young people self-esteem and identity will be strongly influenced by their ability to understand their history and accept the reasons their parents were not able to look after them. Be mindful too that many young people are likely to be resolving their identity as a member of two families – their birth family and their long-term foster family.

Whilst background history will be a major influence on the young person’s formulation of their sense of self, other factors will have an impact too. For example gender, ethnic origin, class background, sexuality and religion. The choices young people make about their dress, leisure pursuits, interests, likes and dislikes will also shape the way they see themselves and affect the way others see them.

Useful tools

Resources are available within the Care Practice Groups including:

“Listening to Children’s Wishes & Feelings Handbook” Mary Corrigan & Joan Moore (2011 BAAF)

Direct work should be age/development appropriate, personalised and linked to interests. Be creative and use your professional artistry. Discuss ideas in Group Supervision.


12. Family and Social Relationships

Needs to consider Yes No Comments
Young person has a strong, positive relationship with a parent or grandparent or other adult family member?     Strongly negative or ambivalent?
Young person has a strong, positive relationship with stable carer?      
Do they know who's in their family – maternal & paternal?      
Has strong, positive relationship with sibling? (lives with sibling – if not why not?)      
Looks after the family (birth family or carer family)?      
Has a close friend?      
Cruelty to others or animals?      
Regularly visits/spends time with friends      
Has safe adult to confide in?      
Sexual knowledge and behaviour is age-appropriate?      
Has a steady partner?     Known to Children's Services?
Has own child(ren)      
Is looking after own child(ren)      
Family Group Conference especially s.20      
Who has contact in the birth family – mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents?     Frequency & duration

As stated in Section 3, Sources of Information/Views/Wishes & Feelings to Inform Assessment relationships with parents are important whether or not contact is happening or is planned and even if return home is NOT part of the Pathway Plan. It is always important to address the needs of parents even if only to reassure young people that parents are getting the help they need and so relieving them of any anxiety they may have been experiencing.

The strongest message from young people making the transition to adulthood is about the importance of having a reliable adult in their life who they trust, have a connection with and who they feel cares about them. The availability of such a person is a crucial factor to help young people make the smoothest possible transition to adulthood. Such trusted adults provide three main types of support: emotional support; practical advice and handholding. Ask if there is a family member who might fulfil the role of trusted adult. Is this a good moment to explore who in the family network might support the child leaving care via a Family Group Conference?

Talk to the young person about who they feel closest to/are most likely to confide in?  If they have a partner relationship, what is its nature of the relationship and are we or another local authority involved.  Does this bring strengths or difficulties? How will they feel if this relationship breaks up? Who will they turn to? How will the support network know they need extra help at this time?

Friends and a friendship network are of crucial importance to young people. Does the young person have the social skills needed to make and keep friends? What support might they need to improve their social skills and confidence?


13. Contact

Needs to consider Yes No Comments
Who has contact?     Nature - direct, phone, letter, email, Facebook
Mother     Frequency, duration, venue, supervised
Father     As above
Sib 1     As above
Sib 2     As above
Sibs +     As above
Aunts, Uncles     As above
Grandparents     As above
Other     As above

It is difficult to separate family relationships from identity and contact issues and they should all be viewed holistically. Good planning and preparation are key in considering relationships and contact with birth families and should take account of other things happening in the young person’s life. For example, what will be the impact on the child’s GCSE results of a renewed contact with birth family? Might it be that this needs to happen prior to the exams on the basis that the young person is so distracted by family issues that they are unlikely to be able to concentrate – or – is it best to wait until the exams are over?

We know too that a return home can work with detailed planning, good preparation of both birth families and of young people. Progress in building relationships and renewing contact with birth family is unlikely to be clear and straightforward and it is important not to be knocked off course by the inevitable disappointments and distress that will occur but instead to be prepared to pick up the pieces with the young person and start again.

There will be some obvious practical issues to consider in thinking about the young person’s needs as they relate to relationships with birth family and contact. For example, do the difficulties that initially led to separation still exist and how might they impact on the young person now? If such difficulties do still exist how might the young person be supported to manage and understand them? How has the situation in the birth family changed since the young person left? Are new people now part of the birth family and if so do they pose any risk to the young person?

Your assessment of the young person’s identity needs in relation to contact has to be balanced against the young person’s safeguarding needs. It may be helpful to set the consequences of not meeting needs in one aspect against the consequences of not doing so in the other. So for example you may judge that if the young person’s need to re-establish contact with birth mother is not met the impact on the child is likely to include feelings of rejection leading to poor self-esteem and possible sexual exploitation. On this basis you may decide that this outweighs the need to safeguard the young person from mother’s new partner who has been accused of domestic violence in a previous relationship. Your plan would of course include the need to protect the young person from domestic violence and actions to address this need.

Note: See Placement with Parent Regulations for any staying contact of 24 hours + for all children and young people subject to a Care Order. Approval for placement by the Director via Head of Service is required. The revised version of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 also includes a new section on children returning home (S.20)  (see Children returning home from care to their families Flowchart). This sets the expectation that “whether a child’s return to their family is planned or unplanned, there should be a clear plan that reflects current and previous assessments, focuses on outcomes and includes details of services and support required. These plans should follow the process for review as with any child in need and/or child protection plan and sets out action to be taken following reunification.  

Good Practice

A Community Care article (see "How social workers can achieve successful reunifications for children in care") by Professor Elaine Farmer and Mandy Wilkinson talks about good reunification practice and links to the Loughborough University's positive evaluation of NSPCC's Taking Care service, which has been co-delivered with nine local authorities.


14. Skills for Independent Living

Needs to consider Yes If no, how does young person respond to hypothetical scenarios
Looks after own personal hygiene    
Understands consequences of own actions   What can happen if teeth are not cleaned and checked?
Can answer and use the phone    
Prepares simple meals    
Knows what to do in an emergency   Say all the electricity went off, what would you do?
Keeps their room clean and reasonably tidy    
Contributes to household routine e.g. washing up, meal preparation, cooking, decorating, hoovering    
Does own laundry   How would anyone go about using a different washing machine to what they are used to?
Accepts adult help when needed with reasonable grace    
Can plan journeys and travel alone    
Can appropriately control own finances    
Has savings    
Makes own social arrangements    
Can tell the time, make and keep own appointments    
Current living arrangements   Fostering, residential, semi independent, independent etc
Has slept/lived on streets    
Other:    

Young people in Southwark say they worry most about managing basic electrical appliances and bills, direct debits, their credit rating and the consequences of losing a LBS tenancy. Moving successfully towards adulthood also requires an ability to navigate resources, be organised, set and achieve goals, research and analyse information, think critically (weighing up pros and cons), question and challenge, evaluate risks, make decisions and be reliable.

You need to ask yourself how capable the young person is in these areas and how might these areas be developed? Focus on hypothetical scenarios to encourage evidence informed assessment and develop problem-solving skills. Be realistic, most young people do not leave home until they are in their late 20s.  What will be the regular support available post 18 – not just emergency services?

Useful tools

See independence Living Booklets Levels 1 – 3  from Hull  – consider food & hygiene, basic electrical and plumbing skills:


15. Financial Arrangements

Needs to consider Yes No Comments
Amount of pocket money/degree of budgeting skill      
Savings/criminal injury compensation      
Numerate/Manages pocket money/can use calculator      
Bank account – making deposits & withdrawals      
Debt     Increasing?
Understands principles of budgeting i.e. income and expenditure and the relationship      
Rent paid regularly      
Benefit status – all eligible claims made     Disability eligibility
Leaving care grant      
Grants      
Student loans      
Wages      
Bills paid regularly      
Manages bus pass/oyster/bicycle travel      
Other:      

See Independent Living Booklets –young people need to understand the difference between wants and needs in relation to food, travel, clothing and bills.  They need to know too what to do in financial emergency.  Use hypothetical situations to test money management skills, e.g. if you had all your money stolen, what would you do?


16. Suitability of Accommodation

Need to consider Yes No Comments
Current placement      
Stability      
Staying Put      
Contingency plan      
Planned transition     Timescales
Introductions to any change of arrangements      
Support available in current arrangement     Nature/level
Vulnerability to eviction     What needs to happen?
Homeless     What needs to happen?
Safety of accommodation - windows, doors, smoke alarms, entry      
Other:      

When looking at changes of accommodation, young people in Southwark have expressed concern about living near pubs and betting shops frequented by older men who may also be drunk.  This makes them feel unsafe in their neighbourhood.  Be aware of proximity to family members which could be a good thing or a bad thing.


17. Additional Matters

Needs to consider Yes No Comments
Does the young person feel accepted in their community?      
Do they experience discrimination/harassment?      
Local friends?      
Is the young person moving in from outside Southwark?     How will they make friends and settle in a new community?
Local organisations/activities/resources which may help     What's in the community to support/provide information?
Community based risks – gangs, CSE      
If this young person is a parent and separated from children?     Solicitor/Post Adoption/SGO Support Plan? Pause Project if 2 or more – see below
Is this young person a parent with children in their care?     Assessment of their parenting capacity by a different worker and their discreet needs as a parent to improve if appropriate – see below
Is this young person an unaccompanied minor?     Need for additional support and planning – see below
Does this person have a disability?     Transitions Team? – see below
Does this person have a mental health issue?     Joint planning with Carelink. See below

Your needs assessment should also include a risk assessment/management plan based on your judgement about the consequences of not addressing the needs identified. Your judgement will be guided by evidence from research and your own experience. For example we know that Looked After young people who are parents have particular needs in relation to parenting. The consequences of not accurately assessing and addressing these needs are very serious with 1 in 10 losing the care of their children through care proceedings. What are the additional needs of a young person expecting a baby?  Should there be a pre-birth assessment of parenting capacity?

Similarly unaccompanied minors have the added burden of not knowing if they can remain in the UK and the impact on them in relation to social isolation, trauma, finance and work. If their needs are not address they are particularly vulnerable to depression and drug misuse.  Living “under the radar” will make them more vulnerable to exploitation.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Looked After Children & Care Leavers have produced two reports on entitlements both of which highlight a problem of care leavers not knowing what they are entitled to. It is important that this is discussed with young people and is recorded and reflected in Pathway Plans.


Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar

Click here to view Appendix 1: Pathway Plan Incorporating Needs Assessment Exemplar

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