By Paul Taylor, Head of Children’s Services Development
Recently, the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families has asked Dame Christine Lenehan to lead a review into the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges. The review will recommend practical actions that can be taken to promote positive experiences and outcomes. (Read about Dame Lenehan’s initial review: These Are Our Children)
To support her review, Dame Lenehan has called for evidence from various providers and agencies. Affinity Trust will be responding to this call for evidence.
Affinity Trust believes that due to a lack of effective local provision many disabled young people are moved away to specialist residential schools and colleges, removing them from their families, friends, communities and known and trusted support systems. This frequently occurs as young people enter their adolescence. This can lead to young people feeling isolated, anxious and insecure which in turn can affect their mental health and wellbeing, as well as produce an increase in behaviours that challenge. It can also impact on their physical health, self-esteem, and confidence levels.
Affinity Trust are developing community based supported living services for young people aged 16+ as an alternative to residential provision. This is a gap in provision with few other providers offering this form of service. Supported living allows young people to return to or remain in their own communities, close to family and friends and to continue to use the local facilities and services that they know. It allows a growth in confidence and independence, which in turn leads to increased self-esteem and reduction in behaviours that challenge.
Find out more by downloading our ‘Supporting Children and Young People Brochure’.