Young people say social care professionals must be consistent, trustworthy and supportive, new research by Action for Children reveals today.
Action for Children spoke to young people in care and based on what they said created a free toolkit for professionals to help develop their emotional resilience. This helps young people when they leave care to live independently, manage risks and ultimately keep themselves safe in adult life.
The ‘Keeping Myself Safe’ toolkit highlights five essential qualities young people say care workers must have:
- provide a stable and consistent relationship – as many will have never experienced this before – to help children learn how to develop friendships in the future
- build trust and grow a young person’s feeling of self-worth, which will allow them to open up about difficult behaviour they might be experiencing
- understand what the child has been through and accept them for who they are and what they have done, which in return will build their self-esteem and confidence
- give young people a feeling of control and accountability for what might happen to them whilst in care
- listen and communicate well with the young people they work with, set boundaries, provide support and challenge the risks they take
Giving young people a say about their lives was a consistent theme throughout the discussions. Jamie Williams, 15, said: “We get to choose where we want to go when we get out and about. We chose where we went on holiday once. Being allowed to choose is cool, it makes you feel like you have some control over your life. Even the little things.”
Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said: “We know that children in care are more likely to fall into crime, drugs or homelessness in adult life. But we also know that when children are given the chance to develop in an environment they consider home with people they know and trust, they are more resilient to these dangers.
“We have taken on board young people’s views to produce this valuable resource to support care workers so they can help young people succeed in life to the best of their ability.”
You can download your free copy of Keeping Myself Safe toolkit here: http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/actionforchildren.org.uk/keeping-myself-safe