Placement Breakdowns
Case Study

Teenage Girl Sat Alone

Sixteen-year-old "A"’s history included 22 placement breakdowns (from residential, foster and semi-independent accommodation) in the two years before referral to LCS. They frequently went missing, engaged in substance misuse and experienced sexual exploitation.

In our comprehensive multi-agency risk review, and initial multi-agency liaison and meetings, we identified stability as a key challenge – and requested additional information from the referring agency to inform our matching process. This enabled us to determine a private room within one of our shared houses would best suit "A", offering:

  • A safe, homely environment
  • Opportunity to interact with peers, developing appropriate friendships
  • A mutually agreed support package at hours suited to their needs – with additional support from our 24/7 staff presence in the home
Teenage Girl Friends

We used information from initial meetings to create a staff matching profile, ensuring good, effective working relationships were developed early, and to match "A" to a placement where they would get on with other house residents. We arranged a “meet and greet” for "A" to familiarise themselves with our team, their new home, and to answer any questions/worries they had. We gave them a personalised Welcome Book, containing information about:

  • Their new home and community
  • Hobbies/interests – including local sports/leisure facilities and religious organisations
  • House rules and behaviour expectations

Initially, "A" struggled with engagement with professionals, some rules/boundaries, budgeting, and emotional health.

All LCS staff receive specialist training – including Adverse Childhood Experiences, trauma-informed approaches and managing transitions sensitively and effectively – helping them better engage with young people. Using these skills, keyworkers engaged "A" and worked closely with them to identify the causes of these issues, and mutually agree solutions.

"A" disclosed their mother had received a terminal cancer diagnosis, which A was struggling to accept. We worked closely with "A", while liaising with their social worker, to make mutually agreed changes to their support plan, which included:

  • Arranging for A to meet a local authority care-leaver to discuss their experiences
  • Agreeing contact with Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Receiving treatment from CAMHS therapists
  • Engaging with their local drug and alcohol service

We explained each step of the plan to "A" separately, to avoid ‘bombarding’ them with expectations. Once they understood each element, they engaged with both our team and the care-leaver to share their feelings and, together, we achieved a successful transition to their new home with us.

Our pre-support created trust, enabling "A" to maintain the placement, re-enter education, join the Children in Care Council and plan their move to post-18 accommodation.

More case studies