Experiences of young people with the transition to an independent life after the youth care

At the end of August, 15 young people from Austria and Belgium met in Brussels to share their experiences with youth care with the project partners of A Way Home. In a workshop, the youngsters reflected on what is important in preparing the leave of youth care: What helped or impeded them? What do they dream of for an ideal leave of youth care?

Some important points that came out of this workshop:

  • Many of the youngsters mention the relationship with the care worker as a precondition for successful care leaving. This implies a permanent guidance, a trusting, warm and respectful relationship, available when needed and easy to reach, being able to keep in touch after leaving youth care
  • The professional attitude that youngsters expect from care workers is positive, flexible and participatory: Guidance should be adjusted to the needs of the individual, letting the youngster co-decide, listen to their wishes and being open and transparent about decisions, importance of a positive and strength-based point of view
  • Youngsters need guidance in legal and administrative literacy, creating and upholding sustainable mental/emotional resilience, using leisure activities and holidays as a boost for self-worth and confidence, finding out who they are, getting lifestyle related tips and tricks, creating and managing a trusting network, preparing the step to adult care if needed and life coaching and connecting to future activities (work, study, …)

The outcomes of this workshop are fully integrated in the training and peer learning that after care workers are following in the frame of the A Way Home project.