The Forward Steps

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Forward Steps, a small independent project in South Wales, supports young people in foster care where there is a risk of the placement being disrupted, writes Alyson Rees.

The main findings of an evaluation of Forward Steps included:

  • Young people, who received on average 6.2 hours face-to-face input, felt the project helped most with relationships with their carers, education and constructive leisure opportunities.
  • Young people liked the project’s activity-based contact. As one boy aged 14 said: “It is easier when you are out doing things or through activities. It just comes out when you are doing stuff.”
  • The behaviour and educational progress of the young people improved.
  • Foster carers felt that the project extended the length of the placement as did placement officers.

Unlike similar projects that often work in specialist areas, Forward Steps tackles a range of issues and because it’s small, focused and independent it can respond speedily and challenge on behalf of young people in a way that other providers may be reluctant to do. Others may wish to follow this effective model.

Alyson Rees is a professional tutor, Cardiff University. The evaluation is available from Forward Steps, 10 Alfred Street, Neath SA11 1EH.

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