BSS offers individual and occasional group programmes, tailored to the needs of the young person. The aim of these programmes is to give the skills and information needed for independent living. Young people are asked to complete programmes with varying degrees of structure: A preparation programme which is part of the referral process, an individual planning programme throughout the placement, a leaving care placement programme and a group programme on an optional basis, which runs concurrently with the other programmes.
These programmes are developed through consultation with keyworkers and the young person taking into account their needs, interests and goals. Keyworking is the provision of individualised care for each young person through a named member of BSS' staff team who takes responsibility for co-ordinating a planned response to the young person's needs as they present throughout the young person's placement in BSS. The young person's placement plan should complement their aftercare or care plan as devised by their social worker or aftercare worker. The primary role of the keyworker is to prepare the young person for leaving BSS. A placement in BSS is generally 2 years in lenght but is flexible depending on the needs of the young person.
BSS acknowledges that young people leaving care are often in a vulnerable position with regards to successful independent living. Our experience indicates that some of the issues faced by young people leaving care are an increased risk of homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, high levels of unemployment and mental health issues. BSS believes that effective and holistic aftercare support strengthens and improves the position of the young person leaving care.
All young people leaving BSS are offered support following their placement. A transitional flat may be offered to residents who have reached the end of their placement. The aim is to eventually move them on to independent accommodation. Many residents move directly on to independent accommodation and require significant assistance in adjusting to the change from semi-independent living. In cases where residents move into other types of accommodation, it is often necessary to liaise with other agencies, i.e. aftercare workers, Peter McVerry Trust or Focus Ireland . In general, the level of support required is greatest in the period following the young person's move-on and decreases as time passes.
The level of support given will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis and reviewed by the young person and their keyworkers. Life circumstances/events influence the level of support required. BSS aims to link young people to alternative support services where appropriate such as counseling services, legal services and financial support services etc. It is hoped the young person will build on skills, knowledge and resilience necessary for independent living.
BSS acknowledge the challenges and responsibilities that young people face through the transition of care to independent living. The aim of BSS aftercare is to make the transition a safe, successful and positive experience that will stand to them for many years to come.