Children's residential units are there for young people aged 13 to 17 when they cannot live with their own family, for whatever reason.
We care for and work with young people, and their families, with differing, complex needs.
We have an extremely dedicated and talented team who work to equip young people to have basic life skills through to continuing with their education, whether in school, college, training or work placement.
Every young person will have a care plan before moving to a hub, which explains the reasons why they are being placed there, what their individual needs are and how best these can be met. Some young people will be moved when in crisis. If this happens, the care plan will be written within 48 hours of the move.
Our team work with young people in a range of ways, to allow the young person to gain a better understanding of their situation and what their options are, while living in a safe environment.
Contact with family and friends, where appropriate, is key and every effort is made to encourage this. Some young people may return home after a few weeks but others will either move to live with extended family, family friends or foster carers.
The future of the residential service - 'No Wrong Door'
We have high aspirations for all young people who require our support and are proud to confirm that we are one of the few authorities in the country to attract significant funding from the Department for Education's Innovations Programme for rethinking care for adolescents and aimed at transforming provision for adolescent young people in the care system.
This funding has been awarded to implement our 'No Wrong Door' way of working which is a ground-breaking initiative to radically improve the life chances of some of the county's most vulnerable and challenging young people and reduce the numbers ending up either homeless or in the criminal system.
Frequently asked questions
Any enquiry about going to live in a children's residential unit should be made through the customer services centre. There are very few places and each is decided on need after careful assessment of the young person and their circumstances.
It should be recognised that we try to place young people in foster placements wherever this is feasible. Only a small number are placed in children's residential units each year. However, we want to be able to help young people and their families before a situation reaches crisis point, so it is important that you get in touch sooner rather than later.
Day to day decisions are made by staff in consultation with the young person and their family, social worker and any other relevant agency. This will all be in line with the assessed and identified needs for the young person contained within their care plan.
Other decisions such as contact arrangements or choice of school are made at the young person's looked after review meeting. These are meetings that bring together the young person with their family, social worker, residential staff, education representatives and any other relevant agencies. The meeting is chaired and led by an independent reviewing officer.
Young people can and do have a real say in changing things. There are several ways in which young people can make their views known.
The looked after review
The looked after review is one way for young people living in children's residential units to make their views known. An advocate can be made available to support them at this time.
Reviews should be held at a time and place where the young person feels comfortable and able to speak freely about any concerns. Staff will prepare and assist young people at such meetings in having their voice heard and help put their views across.
It is very important that young people attend their reviews in order to make their views, wishes and feelings and any issues they may have, known to others.
Children's residential unit resident's meetings
Each residential unit holds resident's meetings whereby an agenda is formulated by the young people with any issues and requests recorded. Staff and young people attend the meeting on a set date and aim to resolve matters at the time. If this is not possible, matters are passed on to the manager of the unit, who normally responds within 48 hours.
Children's residential unit inspections
Children's residential units are inspected at least every month. During this process the inspector will make themselves available to the young people if they have any issues to discuss.
Young people's consultation group and the leaving care-moving on group
The young people's consultation group and the leaving care-moving on group specifically meet with young people who are 'looked after' to consult with them over matters of Council policy and other issues.
National youth advocacy service
The national youth advocacy service helps young people to speak up for themselves within care meetings. Advocates attend with the young person to ensure their views are made clear. See the national youth advocacy service website website for more information.
Children and young people's service complaints procedure
Our children and young people's service also has a complaints procedure. This is explained to young people when they move in to a residential unit and a copy of the form will be given to the young person. If at any time a young person feels the need to complain, staff will then advise on how this can be done. All complaints are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.