Menu
Leaving Care Project

Frequently asked questions

washing machine

How do I get into the project?
What is an assessment?
What is a 'need'?
What is a 'risk'?
How long can a placement last?
What is the contract?
Do I have a choice where I live?
What is sessional work?
I don't know how to cook for myself. Is this a problem?
I'm hopeless with money. How will I be able to make ends meet?
I've never been on my own before. What happens if I get lonely?
Is there a phone in the flat?
What happens if I'm not happy with things or if I have a complaint?
I'm on income support. How can I afford to have my own flat?
Do I have to go to meetings?
What happens if I don't get on with the other young people in the house?

Q. How do I get into the project?

A. Your social worker can make an informal enquiry about a placement in the project at any time. A member of staff can meet up with you and your social worker to give you more information and to answer your questions. You could also have the chance to speak to a young adult who is living in the project, to get their views on what it’s like. You don’t have to make a decision at this point. To make a referral your social worker will need to send us a recent open access report

Q. What is an assessment?

A. The assessment for the project is a time you will spend with your project worker (usually about four weeks before you would move in) finding out more about who you are, what you hope to gain from being in the project, what things you need help and support with, and how we can do this together. You will also be helped to look at what problems there might be, what risks might be around, and, more importantly, how we can manage these together to make sure that you and other people are safe. You will also be helped to think about what your strengths are. The assessment will also give you the chance to get to know the project – what we can provide and what we can’t provide, what the ‘rules’ will be, what our expectations of you will be, and what supports we could provide for you.

Q. What is a ‘need’?

A. The purpose of your placement in Barnardo's Leaving Care project will be to help you learn the things you haven’t learned yet about living on your own. The things you will need help and support with in order to live independently are called ‘needs’.

Q. What is a ‘risk’?

A. Risks are about the things that can go wrong. Perhaps some of the things you get involved in, or some of the people you become involved with could make you or other young adults and staff less safe or less protected - for example misuse of alcohol, drugs, solvents. Or the fact that you feel lonely and isolated could mean that you invite lots of people around to your flat. We are not saying that you can’t have any risks, but that you need to work with us and others to manage them in the context of living on your own where there is no adult supervision.

Q. How long can a placement last?

A. Placements normally last between six and eighteen months. However, we work with every young adult as an individual and the specific length of any placement depends on each young adult.

Q. What is the contract?

A. Every young adult in the project negotiates and agrees a contract or placement agreement with us. It’s a bit like the ‘rules’. The contract is important because it helps to keep you and other people safe. It helps to make sure that any risks are managed well. There are parts of the contract that you will negotiate with us, about things like coming in times, who can visit, what time visitors leave at and so on. Together we will look at what is reasonable for you. But there are parts of it that are not negotiable, eg the fact that you have to work with us, no drugs on the premises, no alcohol if you are under eighteen. Part of the work for this will be to help you understand why such things are in place.

The contract is reviewed after your first four weeks in the project.

Q. Do I have a choice where I live?

A. We do all we can to ensure that placements are suitable for young adults. We will respect your wishes in so far as this possible.

Q. What is sessional work?

A. Sessional work is the time you spend with your project worker each week to look at helping you with the things that you need help and support with during your placement. It also gives you the opportunity to talk about how things are going, or about things that might be bothering you or worrying you.

Q. I don’t know how to cook for myself. Is this a problem?

A. Part of the work you will do with your project worker is to help you to learn how to cook the things that you like to eat. In working with you we are concerned about you as a whole person, so your health and well being are important to us too. Helping you to consider nutritious meals that are good value for money is important to us.

Q. I’m hopeless with money. How will I be able to make ends meet?

A. This is probably the most important practical issue young adults coming to the project have to work through and deal with. Part of our work with you will be to help you to budget your money appropriately. We will do things like working out what you need to be spending your money on - planning your food shopping for the week, helping you to learn how to read your electricity meter each week, and paying this amount each week so that you won’t be faced with large amounts to pay when the bill comes in.

Q. I’ve never been on my own before. What happens if I get lonely?

A. This is a very important issue and something that all young adults moving out on their own for the first time have to deal with. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to your project worker about it. One of the things we can do is that on-call staff can visit you in the evening times for support. We could also link you up with a befriender. You can also phone us at any time if you feel anxious. That’s what we’re here for.

Q. Is there a phone in the flat?

A. All project flats have phones that receive in-coming calls only. You can phone out to the emergency services and to the project on-call service. Young adults trying to manage on a low income cannot afford to run up huge phone bills, so doing things this way helps you to budget your money better.

Q. What happens if I’m not happy with things or if I have a complaint?

A. Barnardo's Leaving Care project has a complaints procedure and we encourage all our young adults to use it if you are not happy with things. Your project worker will tell you more about this.

Q. I’m on income support. How can I afford to have my own flat?

A. Most of the young adults living in the Barnardo's Leaving Care project are living on a low income. Those on benefits are living on about £42 per week. Part of our work with you is to help you to think about your spending priorities – paying your electricity bill and buying your food – and helping you to ensure that your money stretches. Young adults who are on benefits are entitled to housing benefit, which takes care of your rent charges to the project. If you are working you may have to pay us some rent money.

Q. Do I have to go to meetings?

A. Yes. We encourage you to attend meetings. These are your meetings, discussing your future. We encourage all our young adults to write their reports with their project worker. Meetings give you and us the opportunity to check out how things are going, and perhaps what things need changed or added

Q. What happens if I don’t get on with the other young people in the house?

A. This is an important issue for all our young adults to think about, and something which can cause problems if the issues are not dealt with. You do not choose who you live with. We don’t ask that you to become ‘best friends’ with people you live with but we do insist that you to respect them and their rights, and we require that they will respect yours. Part of the work we will do with you will be about learning how to be a good neighbour and a good citizen. You will be helped to understand your rights and others’ rights in relation to noise levels, disturbances and living with neighbours. We do this both individually and in group work. If there is a problem please speak to your project worker as soon as it happens so that the issues can be addressed before they become too serious.