This report is based on a project undertaken by Susan Middleton, a consultant, on behalf of the Improving Outcomes for Looked After Children Team at Scottish Government, during the period October 2011 to February 2012. Susan has 30 years Social Work experience working with children and families in Local Authorities in Scotland, having retired as Service Improvement Manager from Scottish Borders Council in March 2011.
i. The aim of this project is to develop, as appropriate and viable, the work undertaken through a pilot project completed by Scottish Borders Council(SBC) in partnership with GYP Borders (Giving Young people and Families Support), from December 2009 to February 2011: references to these 2 organisations throughout this report are as SBC and GYP Borders respectively. A full evaluation of this pilot was completed by Befriending Network Scotland in June 2010, with a supplementary report produced by the same independent evaluator in February 2011. Both reports, Evaluation Report for the Looked After Children and Peer Support Pilot and Stage 2 Report (February 2011) (1) are available from
ii. This pilot had 2 strands, i) the provision of /signposting of training opportunities in order to increase the skills and confidence of looked after children and young people and care leavers and ii) developing peer mentoring support for care leavers who were to become the initial tenants at Albert Place (supported accommodation project in Galashiels). For the purposes of this project it is the learning from the second strand regarding Peer Mentoring which is most relevant here. The development and piloting of training materials was also integral to the project and this requirement is also addressed in this report.
iii. The findings for the SBC/GYP Borders pilot were limited, largely due to timescales, numbers and reorganisation within the Council. There were however, indications that Peer Mentoring/Support (the care leavers involved changed the terminology to utilise the latter), could have potential benefits for Care Leavers acting as "mentors" but the opportunity to evaluate any benefits for "mentees" was nullified by matched relationships only reaching the introductory stages.
iv. It was also recognised that a number of peer education/mentoring/support services are available to meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people but there was limited knowledge regarding peer mentoring project(s) specifically targeting the needs of Looked After Children and/or Care Leavers.
Email: Eliza Brush