CAYSH's Restoring Families service helps young people at risk of homelessness and their families to find improved ways to communicate with their families and vice versa.
In response to a clear need among young people and their families that they wanted help earlier to avoid family breakdown, we reviewed the available family support services to see if we could help. The CAYSH Family Support pilot was developed in September 2008, with a dedicated Family Support Officer recruited. The pilot provided a flexible service tailored to individual family needs. The pilot was evaluated in June 2009 and based upon this and the success of the project, it has now become a permanent service of CAYSH
Now the Restoring Families service, it is offered to young people (and their family) where difficulties are arising and for every individual the service is shaped to best support their needs - whether that's just one or two meetings or a six month programme of intensive support.
The Family Support Officer works with the young person to under-pin these aims:
- To enable young people to have a positive family life and enjoy the support of their family through improved family relationships.
- To help young people to contribute to their communities by facilitating the development of life skills so that young people can plan their futures.
- To increase the ability of the young person and their family to access services.
- To develop a young persons capacity, with their family, to plan access to independent accommodation.
- Young people aged 16-17 years who have already left home but are in circumstances where a return home is possible with further support.
Once the young person and their parent/carer have been engaged, they construct a personal support plan together with the Family Support Officer and work together towards the achievement of targets within it.
Using a model developed from Supported Lodgings provision, the Family Support Officer provides weekly support sessions at the home of the family, where the family has the opportunity to discuss their individual support issues and to review goals and targets.
The main expected outcomes of the service are:
- Supporting young people to remain at home.
- Providing the family with the tools to identify underlying tensions in their relationship.
- Enabling the planned transition of young people into independent living.
- An improvement in communication between family members, leading to more stable relationships.
An evaluation of the pilot was undertaken in June 2009
CAYSH's work in Restoring Families is about helping 16/17 year olds to remain at home wherever it's safe and possible - because living away from home at this age is nothing like as good as it might sound. For families with wider age spans or other challenges, we work closely with our partner Family Lives.