N, 17, a young person in our care who lives semi-independently, has been on work experience with us throughout the last month. His thirst for learning and dedication to developing skills in digital marketing has certainly impressed us, and his insight and input have been invaluable. He has been kind enough to create the below guest blog:
‘As a care leaver, I’m familiar with the thought process a young person goes through when entering care. It’s a daunting prospect to move to an unknown area and settle in a new home with strangers. There are a wide variety of feelings a young person might experience and the following is a brief agglomeration of common fears or queries a young person may have:
- When moving into care, you are flooded with a combination of emotions and sometimes it is hard to express how you feel straight away. Most young people need time to settle before feeling comfortable to discuss their situation or even to introduce themselves. A good tactic to navigate this is to show the young person to their room if they are displaying introverted behavior and give them time in their own space to familiarise themselves with where they are. After a while the child should feel more comfortable and will approach you to have that discussion so maybe keep doors open or supply them with your number so they don’t feel they are interrupting.
- Another fear a young person can have is not knowing the surrounding area. A trip out to see all local sights and shops is a good way to bond yet also familiarise the young person with their new area. This gives you time to educate the young person and is a fantastic way to reflect the upcoming parenting role you will have towards the young person.
- It’s not always easy making new friends, so try offering the young person opportunities to do so. Youth centres and social areas like parks are good places to go. Try not to force the young person into a situation they don’t want to be in and make these suggestions open ended. Most councils have social events and can help with socialising.
- Young people’s situations are all different, some young people are happy to be away from parents yet some are not. A major question some young people have is if or when they will see their parents again. Try to reassure the young person so they don’t feel anxious to ask. Even if you don’t have the answer try to be supportive.
- Most young people, if they have experienced neglect, aren’t used to a structured meal routine and may have particular eating habits. Try to get a taste of what the young person likes but also try to encourage them to try new foods and to eat a healthy amount.
- School or college is an integral part of a young person’s life. Many young people are saddened when they have to leave their old school. Helping them overcome this and showing them the positives of the situation is a good step in making them comfortable with you.’
Thank you for your thoughts!
We hope they’re an interesting insight into what a young person may be experiencing when first coming into care.