History of the Young Person
An asylum seeker (S) with limited English speaking skills was placed in a shared provision placement to promote independence skills and prepare them to leave care with the necessary life skills. S presented with high risk due to fire setting in their previous placement. He displayed disengagement due to mistrust in the social care system and was unwilling to accept any form of support. The main aim for S was to move to a foster family where he believed he could create a prosperous future for himself, however, contrary to his wishes, S’ previous foster placement broke down due to lack of engagement and isolation despite the foster family's efforts to engage with. Anger and abuse towards professions was frequently displayed S. Non engagement in health care and education, not wanting to follow rules and often going on hunger strike presented professionals with great concern.
Moving to LCS
S was offered a safe environment to live in and was encouraged tell his story of how he came to England. S was regularly encouraged to discuss concerns so that a solution could be achieved. It took a few weeks before he was able to approach placement staff and discuss in detail the traumatic events that he had been through. During casual discussions it was learnt that S had seen many struggles whilst travelling to England and had near death experiences on a boat which he still continues to have nightmares about. S stated the foster family breakdown was due to “communication breakdown and misunderstanding which could not be explained” and that his fire setting was “in protest to discrimination”.
It was observed that S has been struggling to communicate with professionals and misunderstood the help that was being offered, mainly due to mistrust for people in authority. S was advised by placement staff that professionals were trying to help him to gain independence and prosper in life. S stated “the only person that helped me was myself, I had to make the terrible journey to this country. I had to risk my life to escape my country. Nobody helped me before and nobody will help me now! Except myself!”
Analysis deducted from informal conversation identified key points that S had issues with:
Mistrust in social care
(S) stated “promises were not kept and I am being treated differently to other young people”
Non engagement in education
(S) stated “ I just was the best for myself and want to attend secondary school not college like other children”
Non engagement in healthcare
(S) stated “I do not need any help, I do not need to see healthcare because I will not stay here for long”
(S) states “I am not sleeping well because I wake up after nightmares”
How we worked
S was supported to relay his feelings to professionals and make sense of the reasons he was not being offered a foster family. With the aid of Google Translate he was advised regarding his risk assessment which outlined fire setting. Safety concerns regarding fire setting and foster family’s rights to protect their family from potential risks was explained. S was encouraged to place himself in a potential foster parent's shoes to fully understand why it was difficult to place him with a foster family.
S wanted to attend secondary school however, due to his age, he was unable to register. He stated: “no one wants me to go to secondary school, this is unfair”. S was supported to register for secondary school education via the council website with his details entered whilst he was present. When the County Council website rejected the application due to his age, he was reassured that he was in fact not eligible due to his age and not because of unfair treatment. S was further supported to apply for colleges of his choice and was assisted to make preparation for college when enrolled onto a course.
S is reluctant to visit healthcare professionals and has stated he is unable to sleep due to nightmares. He was encouraged by provision staff to discuss the possible causes for these nightmares and disclosed: “I see myself on a boat travelling back to my country and the boat is leaking. I wake up when I arrive at my country then cannot go back to sleep”. S was encouraged to seek professional help, a CAHMS appointment was booked with his permission so that he could be assessed for mental health issues.
Since first being placed in shared accommodation S has settled in and is enjoying his education at college. The abuse towards professionals has stopped and engagement is outstanding. S states “I can now educate myself and would like to go to university. My social worker is good and always helps me. I am seeking help for my health which is very important so that I can continue to progress with my education. I now get on well with staff and I look forward to my future”.