Young people require the continuation of existing, and establishment of new, positive enduring relationships. Existing relationships can be maintained through family contact, community connections and relationships at school and work, while new relationships can be formed with care providers and other young people in placement.
Continuity of placement alone is unlikely to result in permanency or feelings of stability and security. To achieve this, placements need to meet the young person’s social, emotional and physical needs. This makes placement matching (where all possible options are explored to ensure the placement reflects needs and the requirements of the relevant child protection order) very important.
Informed and inclusive participation in the placement matching of the young person and prospective carers may lead to better placement stability, which may increase the longevity and outcomes of the placement.
Some techniques to help with placement matching and increase young people’s participation in their placement decisions include:
- location of placement—Seek the young person’s view on where they would like to be placed—geographically, with or near what family/network member and in what type of care arrangement
- Placement Services Referral—Engage the young person in completing the referral to the Placement Services Unit (PSU), including all strengths and needs, likes and dislikes, routines, health needs and a picture of the young person
- foster carer profiles—These provide an introduction to the carers who they will be living with, what the house will look like, what pets they have, and what room they’ll be sleeping in. Reducing the number of unknowns for the young person reduces the trauma experienced
- residential profiles—These provide an introduction to the residential where they will be going to live, what the house will look like, who they may be living with and what their room may look like. This reduces the number of unknowns for the young person and reduces the trauma experienced.
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