Please note this blog post is a Guest Post. It has been written by the Kedleston Group and is sponsored. More information about the Kedleston Group can be found at the bottom of this article. This article focuses on one of the schools in the Kedleston Group: Wings School in Nottinghamshire. Wings School is an independent therapeutic residential and day provider. This article explains the Step Down Family Living Model.
ONE of the UK’s leading providers of specialist education and care for vulnerable young people has launched a new service aimed at supporting children to move successfully from residential care to family living.
Kedleston Group has a range of specialist residential and day schools, as well as children’s homes. One of these, Wings School Notts, has launched a model of care called Step Down to Family Living, which aims to enable young people to move back to family living as quickly and effectively as possible.
The model is based on a philosophy of four P’s; planning, placement, phased transition and post transition. Many children benefit from being in residential care and the enhanced level of support that comes with it. However, there is a group of children who have care plans which suggest foster care is a more beneficial pathway for them.
However, currently there is a lack of skilled and quality foster carers to meet their need. Residential placements are then often to “fill the gap”. The aim of Step Down to Family Living is to provide outstanding outcomes for children and ensure they could achieve the goals of their step-down plan in the short to medium term.
The model will benefit those children who are experiencing numerous family and/or foster placement breakdowns and who require a period of stability and consistency.
Gillian Miele, Group Head of Care explains more: “We know there are too many children in the UK who have experienced multiple foster placement breakdowns and who have been separated from their families for long periods of time.
“Some of these children and young people may be placed in residential services for a period during their childhood. Our model aims to ensure this is for a short period of time while we prepare children and young people to return to family settings.
“Our Step Down to Family Living Model, which we’ve created in consultation with children, families, therapeutic professionals, commissioners and a national fostering agency and using our extensive experience in successfully supporting vulnerable children, provides a clear structure and process for children and young people to progress through and to achieve their overarching goal of stepping down to a foster care placement or returning to their families.”
The Step Down to Family Living Model is designed to help stabilise the child and equip them with the skills they need to thrive within a family home environment, with less supervision than in residential settings.
Gillian added: “Our process also allows the careful consideration of the next placement to ensure the child does not experience further negative experiences. The core principles of our model also apply to the overarching goal of reunification with family and reintegration to mainstream schooling, which is always our ultimate goal when it is best for the child.”