The Doncaster Care Leavers Accommodation Support Service (CLASS) has been operating across South Yorkshire for over the last 5 years. This is a bespoke service that is designed to support the challenges that care leavers experience during their transition to independent adult life. We provide accommodation and floating support needed to be able to sustain their own tenancy by encouraging the development of the young person’s independent living skills.

During this period, Foundation have provided support to over 100 young people leaving care, helping to raise aspirations and change lives for the good.

This case study has been kindly shared by Tom, the Team Leader for the CLASS service in Doncaster.

Early disadvantage

Lisa was a young mother referred to Foundation when she was 17, she was one of six siblings removed from the family home due to neglect. This left Lisa feeling scared and confused. Her mother then died shortly afterwards due to severe substance abuse, causing further trauma in Lisa’s life.

Lisa found herself having to care for her new born baby in a residential placement with people she didn’t know and was monitored by staff 24 hours a day. Her social worker soon identified that this placement was no longer suitable for her needs and that another placement would be needed to allow her more independence. It was at this point that Foundation offered support to Lisa via our CLASS service.

Learning to live independently

Lisa was allocated a support worker who quickly identified a property that was suitable for Lisa and her child’s needs. The property was in an area that she was familiar with and which she had a good social network. Throughout weekly visits, the property was secured, she was provided with a move in furniture pack and a personalised support plan was created to meet her needs.

This was the first time that Lisa was expected to manage her own tenancy independently and she was nervous, she was also aware that her new born baby had been placed on the ‘child in need’ register automatically due to her being a care leaver. Lisa felt under pressure that her parenting skills would be scrutinised and that her child could be taken from her. Lisa expressed how important it was to ensure her child was never taken away from her as she did not want anyone to go through what she did as a child.

Once placed in her own accommodation, Lisa began to create a strong positive relationship with her allocated support worker. She quickly demonstrated pride in her property and impressed her social worker and health nurse with her independent living skills and the care of her child. Despite on-going issues with her property, Lisa remained calm and weekly visits ensured issues were addressed and that Lisa had the available support when needed. Lisa was initially supported to claim her correct welfare benefits, set up her bills and make sure they were paid on time. Weekly shopping trips were built in to the support to ensure that Lisa and her child needs could be met on a set budget.

Moving on

After five months of being placed with Foundation, it was agreed that Lisa’s support would be reduced due to her positive development. A joint decision by Lisa, Foundation and her social worker was made to look at move on options and Lisa was supported to complete an application for local authority housing. Once this had been accepted Lisa could begin to bid on available properties.

Within the month, and with the on-going support by her support worker, Lisa attended a meeting with the local authority housing in which she needed to provide evidence to support her case of being accepted and eligible for a property in her own name.

Breaking the cycle

Lisa and her son are now living in an assured tenancy with the local authority, giving her security in her own tenancy. Both mother and son are thriving and social services have no longer deemed Lisa’s son as a ‘child in need’.