27. Reintegration from a Residential Placement

Background This 13 year old Looked After Young Person was accommodated within Specialist residential provision outwith Perth and Kinross as there was no suitable local placement and her main carer (grandmother) was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was struggling with many issues and was placing herself and others at risk, was self-harming, abusing drugs and alcohol, offending and disengaged from education. She was known to the Re-integration team which is an alternative care and education facility in Perth through their ongoing work with an older sibling. She was offered a place with the Re-integration team, engaged well and was making positive progress until her grandmother became seriously ill and was unable to look after her. On the death of the grandmother, her older sibling moved to live with another family member and the young person concerned was accommodated. Solution Focused Approach As the young person had formed a positive relationship with a Re-integration Link worker, regular contact was maintained to support her, and her new workers, until a suitable local home base could be secured. Re-integration staff worked closely with the young person, Social Worker, Residential Care staff and family members to progress her phased return to Perth and her reintegration back into her own community. She had, prior to her grandmother’s illness, returned to mainstream school with support from her Link worker and was making good progress. The solution focused assessment framework used by Re-integration staff helped to identify her strengths, resources and interests as well as highlighting potential areas for development. Strategies Key success factors were as follows: • acknowledging the relationship between the young person and the Link worker supported the challenging transitions from Perth to out of authority core and to her new home with her new corer (maternal aunt); • strong partnership working between all significant agencies ensured a package of support which continued to respond to the evolving needs of the young person and her new corer; • her new corer was offered ongoing support to assist her and other family members to understand and best meet the young person ‘s needs; • she was reintroduced to the school’s nurturing Pupil Learning Centre with direct support from her Link worker; • she resumed her place at Re-integration with a programme designed to meet her social, emotional, health and educational needs and aspirations, building on ‘what had worked’ prior to her placement in core.
Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning • Positive and frequent reinforcement of her strengths and resources. • 1 – 1 time with her Link worker to identify and explore issues. • Support for her new carer to help her adopt strategies for managing challenging behaviour. • Educational activities designed to build on her skills and interests, including attendance at Art Space – a community based art project. Individualised planning and a flexible curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence • An Individualised Educational Programme which reflected the broader needs and aspirations of the young person. • A Re-integration programme which included 1- 1 time: ‘therapeutic’ support. • Experiences designed to further develop her motivation for learning, through discussions, pampering and relaxation sessions, life story sessions, small group activities, health assessment with LAC nurse. Partnership Working This included strong partnership between school, Social Work, health, Re-integration and Art Space. The Reintegration Link worker provided strong links and a high level of communication between all relevant parties, ensuring consistency of approach across settings.  Funding was secured from Education Manager/s to enable participation in community-based project Art Space.

Successful Outcomes included:

  • reintegration to Perth to live with maternal aunt, her family and the young person’s older sibling;
  • attendance at mainstream school (part-time) and working towards Access 3 English, maths and art;
  • school staff demonstrating flexibility in responding to her ongoing needs;
  • carer more open to responding to her emotional needs;
  • young person participating well in small group activities;
  • noticeable improvement in her overall health, wellbeing and physical appearance;
  • increasing openness to take responsibility for her actions towards others and to make more positive choices in terms of her health and wellbeing;
  • young person talking more positively about her future aspirations.
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