Associate feature: We need to be there for young people looked after at home

Written by Helen Chambers, Inspiring Scotland on 10 September 2018 in Comment

The responsibility to support young people falls to all of us, says Helen Chambers of Inspiring Scotland

Mentoring - Image credit: Inspiring Scotland

“I’ve noticed a huge difference in Rob recently. He is like a different boy; his body language has changed and he sits up straighter and stands tall,” says Christine, Rob’s intandem mentor.

It is a long way from the boy he was less than a year earlier.

He had low confidence and poor self-esteem, had disengaged from school and was socially isolated, he hit out at his sister and made threats of self-harm.

Rob had lived in nine different homes and attended six different schools. He witnessed domestic violence and alcohol abuse, and experienced neglect.

There are thousands of young people in Scotland who, like Rob, are looked after by the local authority but still live at home. 

They are amongst the hardest for care services to reach and support and often lack a positive and trusted adult role model to help them cope, making them more likely to fall through the cracks of provision.

intandem is Scotland’s national mentoring scheme for young people looked after at home and a unique response to a pressing need.

Inspiring Scotland, Scottish Government and 13 charities in 20 local authorities are working in partnership to match vulnerable young people with adult mentors, allowing them to build long-term, positive, trusting and supportive relationships, helping them to thrive despite adverse circumstances.

For Rob, having a mentor meant he had aspirations for himself for the first time – he wanted to be kinder and help out more at home, to exercise more and to make more friends – and, thanks to his relationship with Christine, he is achieving these goals.

The responsibility to support young people like Rob falls to all of us and many organisations in Scotland have a special duty as corporate parents to ensure young people in the care system grow up loved, safe and respected and able to realise their full potential.

intandem needs volunteer mentors from all walks of life, including those working at corporate parent institutions, to get involved so more young people like Rob can begin to stand tall.

This story has been anonymised to protect the identity of the young person and their mentor.

Helen Chambers is the deputy chief executive of Inspiring Scotland.

www.intandem.scot

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