Jameel Hadi is a lecturer in social work at the University of Salford. He has over 20 years experience as a social worker within youth justice, looked after children and leaving care services. He developed Participation Through Sport, a service that promoted relationships and the development of self efficacy, informed and shaped by young people. He carried out research for a major North West Local authority in 2000 which involved visiting former care leavers, many as young as sixteen, who had lost touch with the authority
The literature on looked after children and care leavers demonstrates how involvement in positive activities can provide a turning point to establish resilience through the development of self efficacy that leads to an improved sense of social competence. . It explains that if young people are introduced and supported to take part in new activities, they strengthen their own relational networks and begin to think of themselves differently as they become aware of new possibilities (Gilligan, 2009).
An alternative starting point would view every care leaver as a unique individual with their own needs and feelings. This would require a leaving care system that focuses on relationships, providing care leavers with experiences that enable them to develop their own network of trusting relationships and experience a sense of accomplishment and success. In short it is about connecting care leavers to social capital. It is this process, rather than a system based on entitlements and independence, that will lead to the resilience, agency and self-belief required to make positive transitions.
Full article: Care leavers – hitting the target and missing the point