James: Moving on to independent living
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 September 2022
Context and purpose of the intervention
James is a 17-year-old young man of white British/Sicilian origin, currently in a long-term foster placement in North London with a single white female carer, Mrs Appleby, who is in her mid-fifties and of white British origin. James is subject to a Section 31 care order under the Children Act (1989). He has been with his current carer for four years. It is expected that James will leave his current placement in six to 12 months and move on to semi or independent living. In my borough there is an independent living team (ILP) who undertake this work, so the case was due to be transferred.
I have been James’ social worker for nearly eight years, so in transferring the case I wanted to do a piece of work lasting approximately three months around ‘endings’. I discussed the work with James and we agreed that we would spend the sessions looking at his files, as I thought it was important for James to be able to make sense of early life events in relation to his current perception of himself and others.
In doing this it was envisaged that there would be some overlap with the formal transfer of the case which was due to take place shortly. James had already met his new social worker from the ILP and he had also had some contact with another member of the team, who helps young people with careers and employment, so we had already started preparing in a task centred way for the transfer (see Figure 1).
I was aware from discussion with James that in commencing this work, he was ambivalent about having a new social worker, because in his understanding he was still subject to a care order for another 12 months. In my authority, in common with most local authorities, there is an expectation that young people being ‘looked after’ have to move on to semi or independent living between the ages of 16 and 18 years. Given that I had been his social worker for such a long period, I also knew that I would be sorry and sad to transfer the case.
- Developing Reflective PracticeMaking Sense of Social Work in a World of Change, pp. 10 - 20Publisher: Bristol University PressPrint publication year: 2000