A PROJECT is celebrating a quarter of a century of transforming the lives of vulnerable young people in the county.
Children’s charity Barnardo’s has supported more than 500 young people, who were on bail or remand, over the last 25 years.
The Bail and Remand Intensive Care and Support faction of the charity provides specialist foster carers to allow a safe and secure home for young people referred from the youth justice service.
To mark its milestone, the charity is inviting more residents to consider joining the team. It is looking for potential foster carers from across the county willing to support young people aged ten to 18 years old.
Applications are welcome from people of all ages and backgrounds, with police checks and personal references sought as part of the process.
Specialist foster carers receive regular training, including how to manage risky behaviour and how to use de-escalation techniques, as well as ongoing support and supervision from Barnardo’s staff.
Detailed risk assessments are always carried out before placements are made, and there is access to help at all times if needed.
Specialist foster carers receive a continuous fee throughout the year and have 28 days leave and extra breaks.
Barnardo’s practice manager Vanessa Yates said: “The aim of the project is to provide consistent care and to help young people move away from offending and towards more positive choices.
“This can be helping them into education or employment, building a supportive friendship group or regaining contact with their family.
“It’s challenging but immensely rewarding work.
“Some of the carers say it’s like gaining a second family, and many of the young people like to keep in touch to let their carers know how they’re getting on – they’re proud of the progress they’ve made.
“One former carer was contacted several years later to be invited to a young man’s wedding, and was even called ‘nanna’ by another young person’s child, which was lovely.
“For some of the young people, it was their first experience of a supportive family and they’re forever grateful.”