New Pilot Scheme helps transition to Independent Living

13 December 2016

Llamau is celebrating the successful completion of an innovative pilot scheme to help care leavers manage the transition to independent living.

The pilot, which has been delivered as part of the Flexible Support Fund and has been funded by UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), has been running since November 2015, working with 81 young people during an extremely vulnerable period of time for them.

The pilot project has worked to ensure that during the transition from support from childhood to adulthood for young people leaving care is more streamlined. It has aimed to mediate the complex relationships between leaving care and newly accessing job seekers allowance, at a time when significant life changes are also taking place.

Llamau has employed a Benefits and Employability Worker, Nicole Martin, to deliver the support to young people.

The pilot has aimed to reduce the numbers of young people leaving care, making a claim for a benefit such as job seekers allowance, and then the claim failing to be maintained, resulting in a benefit sanction. It has also sought to better inform DWP staff about the vulnerabilities and needs of a very vulnerable group of young people. In addition, Nicole provided a single point of contact of support for young people, who could mediate difficulties between a young person and the DWP.

The pilot has helped people like Andrew, 18.

Nicole helped Andrew to make a job seekers allowance claim while he was living temporarily in bed and breakfast after leaving care. During the time between the claim and the appointment, Andrew was moved to different accommodation, in a different local authority and Nicole was able to move the claim to a different job centre. Very shortly after, Andrew found he was able to move into his father’s house, where he was then supported to make a more appropriate Universal Credit claim. Without the support of Nicole, Andrew’s claim is likely to have failed as he moved location several times, and he would have been without financial support at a difficult time in his life.

Llamau’s evaluation of the pilot project has found that there is need for the project to be rolled out to other care leavers across Wales, in order to better improve their outcomes during a period of transition. In Wales, there are nearly 1,000 young people about to leave care who will face the same issues this year as Andrew as they approach their 18th birthday.

Llamau is in discussion with the Department for Work and Pensions about how best to take this forward for better outcomes for all care leavers in Wales.

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‘ We still have our ups and downs, but thanks to Kerry I’m still at home and we’re working through our problems together. Thanks.’
Alex, aged 16
‘ Llamau should be commended for the accessibility of information for tenants, the comprehensive induction pack for staff, the ease with which their policies cross reference and the staff appraisal system.’
Service Review