KCC's Kent Supported Homes service: Helping house vulnerable young people aged 16-21

by My Kent Family reporter

Sponsored Editorial: Produced in association with Kent County Council

As the pandemic continues to alter every aspect of our daily lives, more and more of Kent’s young people are in need of help.

Under Kent County Council’s new service Kent Supported Homes, the county's vulnerable young people will have the chance to be welcomed into a safe family environment to help boost their life chances as they move into adulthood.

Kent County Council is looking to add to its pool of host families to provide a supportive home for 16 to 21-year-olds, who may be leaving care or have experienced family breakdown and are not yet ready to live independently.

All hosts are assessed, checked and trained for their role and offered full and ongoing support once a young person is placed
All hosts are assessed, checked and trained for their role and offered full and ongoing support once a young person is placed

For those young adults who need to be supported through their transition into adulthood, Kent Supported Homes allows them to gain essential independent living skills, such as budgeting, cooking and cleaning, and provides them with emotional support to manage life’s challenges.

Kent Supported Homes is calling for hosts, who can ensure that these young people experience feeling both safe and supported and that their accommodation is most importantly their home.

Hosts must have the physical room to accommodate a young person, be emotionally resilient, be able to support the young person’s self-esteem and confidence and aid them on their pathway to independence.

It is a requirement by the service, that hosts offering a supported home have the capacity to provide each young person a bedroom of their own (furnished and maintained to a good standard) as well as access to and use of kitchen and bathroom facilities, and that no more than three young people are offered accommodation and support at any one time.

All hosts/host families are assessed, checked and trained for their role and offered full and ongoing support once a young person is placed.

Melanie, who has worked for Kent Supported Lodgings for the past two years as a host said, “The Supported Homes service is more than just accommodation.

"Some of the young people moving from their previous home, arrive fearful that they are now suddenly expected to know how to cook their own meals, run a home or manage their own finances.

Kent Supported Homes is seen as a ‘stepping stone’ to independence
Kent Supported Homes is seen as a ‘stepping stone’ to independence

"By offering a home environment which is safe and supported you can help them learn the essential life skills they will need to transition fully to living independently. It is so rewarding to see young people gain their confidence and independence and move forward in life, knowing that you have played some part in their journey and success.

Melanie added: "The young people I have supported have continued to keep in touch, sharing their achievements and successes and their new relationships. To watch them thrive and continue to develop is incredibly rewarding.”

Approved Kent Supported Homes hosts will receive extensive and comprehensive training.

This includes an induction program and courses such as Roles and Responsibilities, Managing Challenging Behaviour and Digital Safeguarding, extending to more specialised courses on young people’s mental health and understanding and supporting LGBTQ young people.

Ongoing support and supervision from a dedicated Supported Homes accommodation officer is provided to all hosts. Hosts are able to continue to work (including in full-time employment) but must have some flexibility in order to offer the level of support needed to young people.

As payment for their work and dedication to their young person, hosts will receive: a standard payment of £150 per week for 15 hours support or an enhanced payment of £250 per week for 25 hours support, £300 per week will be paid for accommodation and support for parent and child.

Kent Supported Homes needs hosts who can ensure that young people experience feeling both safe and supported
Kent Supported Homes needs hosts who can ensure that young people experience feeling both safe and supported

All young people pay rent to their hosts at either £70 per week or at the Local Authority Housing rate. Kent Supported Homes hosts are also entitled to a two-week paid break.

Maria Cordrey, Kent Fostering & Supported Homes development team manager said: “Supported Homes is often seen as a ‘stepping stone’ to independence.

"It is important that young people, including our care leavers, do not feel overwhelmed or subject to an instant expectation of adulthood, and that we as a service continue our commitment to them, through ensuring the provision of accommodation, support and guidance during their transition to more independent living.

"It is really important to give our young people the time and dedication to prepare them for the future and in turn promote better life chances.”

Maria added: “We are calling on everyone including single people, those in couples, with or without children, and from different ethnic backgrounds, to join our community of Kent Supported Homes Hosts, to offer support to our young people who are not yet ready to live on their own.

"It is rare that young people are ready to leave home at 18 and particularly for those who have experienced trauma and challenge in their lives.

Kent County Council is looking to add to its pool of host families
Kent County Council is looking to add to its pool of host families

"We need hosts to provide opportunities for our young people to have more time to strengthen their independence skills whilst feeling safe and cared about in a supportive home.

"I would urge anyone who is thinking of making an application to become a Kent Supported Homes Host to do so. Not only can this provide extra income in these uncertain times, but you will also be contributing to the lives of young people in need of a safe home where they will be supported into independence.”

If you too could make a difference and provide support and a home for Kent’s young people, please contact our enquiries team for more information today on 03000 042 0002 or email kentfostering@kent.gov.uk

For more information visit www.kentfostering.co.uk

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