(This service is available in South West England and Wales)
The Safe Steps transitional care programme offers Local Authorities a realistic alternative to long term residential care for some of the young people they look after. Institutional care does not have a track record of successfully preparing the young person for life in the community, so a programme that integrates them into family life is beneficial for all. The young people on this programme have historically displayed behaviours that meant they could not sustain a stable foster placement. With the high costs associated with residential care, and with the benefits that this programme brings, it is proving increasingly attractive to Local Authorities facing budget cuts and needing to make significant savings.
The Safe Steps programme is both unique and innovative and was developed in Wales by Pathway Care in partnership with another specialist care provider. It has been established for three years and is a proven model of helping a young person move from residential care to fostering so that they can successfully live within a family environment. The 12 month programme is part residential and part fostering and involves a multi-disciplinary team of professionals and, if need be, access to a specialist education setting.
From the outset Safe Steps was designed to provide a local solution to a national problem. Our success means we now have children living in foster families in Wales, having been once placed in residential units many miles away from their home area and their families.
During the programme young people are closely consulted on their proposed foster family placement. The extreme care taken over the matching process greatly increases the likely chances of the placement in the fostering family being successful at the end of the programme.
Foster carers for this programme are highly trained, supported and mentored. Many have seen fostering on this programme as a career step from mainstream fostering, one that is both challenging and financially rewarding. Other carers have come into the programme from backgrounds in teaching, policing or other care professions. One of our Safe Steps carers for example, had worked in the care sector with adults with learning difficulties and had also worked in a watersports centre working with children and young people.
Currently Safe Steps placements are a part of our service in Wales, South West England, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
The demand for Safe Steps is continually expanding so we are always looking for people to be considered for fostering within this ground breaking programme. To find out more, go to www.safestepsfostercare.co.uk or call 0871 226 3760