We were approached as we had a good record of achieving great outcomes for young people who place themselves at risk.
A planned visit was arranged to go and meet Megan at the secure unit following the referral, and Megan presented herself as a very chatty, friendly and fun loving young person, with a good sense of humour but without the understanding of risk and true consent. After the meeting she asked if I could visit her again.
‘We were approached as we had a good record of achieving great outcomes for young people who place themselves at risk’
Megan visited what was to become her new home and was part of the planning process for the home from the start. As this was to be a single occupancy home, the builders and painters were all working hard to get everything completed and Megan was involved in the painting and decorating; listing what items she would like for her room.
When Megan moved in, she settled very quickly forming a trusting relationship with the house manger. The experienced care team had a good understanding of Megan’s needs and were able to meet her developmental needs in the care setting.
‘She is learning about safe risk taking and the concept of true consent’
The care team have worked really hard in providing the best outcomes for Megan, she will openly inform people that this is her home, with the care team being her ‘family’- the house has a very welcoming calm presence and very much a family home.
During the time which Megan has lived at the home, she has not absconded once, she is involved with the day to day running of the home making choices, taking part in the shopping, preparing and of cooking meals and she is involved with regular staff meetings.
She has participated in therapy with the Group’s psychotherapist, who has also worked with the team to ensure a consistent therapeutic milieu exists to aid Megans’s progression. She is learning about safe risk taking and the concept of true consent.
The care team work really close with Megans’s parents and Megan has regular visits ensuring some consistency and that boundaries are set. During her time with us relationships have improved. Megan has attended school during her time at the home and is now being supported to attend college. She has never missed a day of school other than illness; this is a huge achievement for Megan which has boosted her self esteem giving her more confidence to help her make new ‘appropriate’ friends.
Megan is working hard to achieve positive educational achievements and the care team continue to work closely with her to obtaining Maths and English qualifications and most of all teach Megan valuable independence skills for her future.
For Megan, things are looking very positive.
Darren* has a moderate Learning Disability and was a looked after child from a young age, living with a foster family having suffered abuse in the family home. Darren’s experience of his early years had a profound impact on his emotional well being and the way he responded to others; often making him angry and upset with others in a threatening and aggressive manner.
Darren’s Statement of Special Education Needs showed he was working at pre-entry milestone levels for communication, numeracy and literacy. Daren had been attending a two year life skills course at a mainstream further education College, and had shown very limited levels of enthusiasm and engagement. His tutors would report he often did ‘just enough’ and needed lots of cajoling to engage and answer prompts or questions.
Darren came to Oakwood Court College to undertake a vocational independent living programme, which was his first experience of being away from his foster family.
‘At times of anxiety or distress Darren would struggle to even speak or engage with people at all’
Initially Darren was reluctant to partake, finding some parts of the timetable fun and others which he had very little interest in. These preferences led to his timetable being reviewed so that his time was spent doing subject areas he preferred like horticulture and workshop sessions. His progress within the College residences was so impressive that he moved to a self contained flat within the College residences from a larger shared house.
‘Darren left us in 2013 a confident young man, with a work placement, recognised qualifications and the ability to live away from home’
In his second year Darren continued to develop, he undertook a level 1 conservation certificate, began developing strong peer relationships. Darren made huge strides towards independence by accessing the community unsupported to travel to and from college, as well as into the local area.
Darren showed an interest in cooking and with support initially Darren was able to learn how to prepare and home cook lasagne, cottage pie and roast dinner, although washing up afterwards still remained a challenge.
Darren began showing more self awareness too, keeping his hair and beard cut, and engaging in house work- with acceptance and understanding if not enthusiasm. When there were events or parties Darren would dress slightly smarted than usual showing an appreciation of the occasions.
Having made so many friends and connections in the local area when Darren approached transition he was clear he wanted to remain in the local community, and with support was helped to identify a supported living placement in the local community where he was able to share a flat with a former student. Darren left us in 2013 a confident young man, with a work placement, recognised qualifications and the ability to live away from home with minimal levels of support and genuine independence.