4. CURRENT PRACTICE
A list of those involved in discussions relating to this work, including contact details, is included at appendix 1, so the following provides only a brief summary of some practice examples.
i. The majority of "mentoring" projects seeking to support Looked After Children and Care Leavers are targeted at the point of "leaving care" and train adult mentors to fulfil this role e.g. Rock Trust, Move On, West Dunbartonshire Council.
ii. There are other services where, as a vulnerable child or young person, a Looked After Child may be supported by a mentor or befriender to achieve certain aims or goals. Scottish Mentoring Network (4) and Befriending Network Scotland (5)
iii. There are also good examples of Peer Mentoring projects in Scotland where Care Leavers and ex-Care Leavers, as service-users, are trained as mentors and are providing support to other vulnerable young people who are not necessarily looked after e.g. Xplore, The Aberdeen Foyer.
iv. West Dunbartonshire Council have a well-established scheme which offers befriending and mentoring to Looked After Children and young people involved with the Throughcare and Aftercare team. Although not specifically seeking to engage ex Care Leavers as mentors they have recruited 4 over the years with some success.
v. Stirling Council has employed a Care Leaver on a sessional basis to co-facilitate preparation groups and to mentor Looked After Children or Care Leavers on an adhoc basis.
vi. Scottish Borders Council Homelessness team are seeking to recruit peer mentors (those who have experienced homelessness) and this may include ex Care Leavers. The SBC/GYP Borders pilot programme has, unfortunately, not continued, although workers at the Homelessness team will utilise the training programme (with relevant adaptations) as developed during the pilot project. The main reason for the ending of the project seems to have been insufficient resourcing and staffing.
vii. There are other examples emerging where Local Authorities are responding to the views of their Looked After Children/Care Leavers by exploring the concept of peer mentoring e.g. Dundee City and Argyll and Bute Councils are working with partners, including Who Cares? Scotland, to develop these ideas locally. St Andrews Secondary School in Glasgow is considering peer mentoring for Looked After Children as a progression from the group based strategies and developmental opportunities already established in the school.
Email: Eliza Brush