Peer Mentoring Opportunities for Looked After Children and Care Leavers

This report and its recommendations are the result of a small project exploring services offering and

research around peer mentoring and how such practice could be developed to improve outcomes for Looked After Children and Care Leavers in Scotland.


i. This requires careful consideration and realistically a substantial input. Mentoring and peer mentoring training programmes do vary in length and intensity, but given the experience of current projects it is likely that a minimum of 20 hours will be necessary to properly explore the requirements as outlined in appendix 3.

ii. Reassuringly, all the training programmes shared during this project include input on the same issues (as listed) with variations occurring due to the context and purpose of the project and relationship e.g. leaving care, social isolation, homelessness, employment.

iii. One of the aims of this small project was to develop a training resource/pack to support the development of peer mentoring for Looked After Children /Care Leavers. Discussions, reading and practice suggests that, to go further than provide the list (appendix 3) at this stage is unnecessary for the following reasons:

  1. Local voluntary organisations and some local authorities already have comprehensive training programmes and resources which could be shared and adapted to meet the needs of particular project(s).
  2. Scottish Mentoring Network and Befriending Network Scotland have experience, guidance/and tools which can also be utilised.
  3. "Prescriptive" training requirements might restrict the development of local needs-led peer mentoring opportunities for Looked After Children and Care Leavers.

iv. The experience of service-users becoming service providers/mentors in voluntary organisations would suggest that they, the individual, develop the self-confidence, self- awareness and understanding to reach a level where they recognise that they could be ready to "give something back." The selection process and training programme are key to checking this out.

v. It should be highlighted that projects will endeavour to offer the ex-service user/potential mentor other opportunities to utilise their skills and interest if it is felt that they are not yet ready to take on a "peer mentoring" role. This is, rightly, felt to be crucial to the continued development of the self-esteem of vulnerable children, young people and adults.

vi. The benefits of "peer mentoring" for Looked After Children /Care Leavers have yet to be properly evaluated but it is unlikely that the requirements to provide an effective service will differ significantly from those listed above at 5.ii.


Email: Eliza Brush

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