St Christopher’s believes that all children and young people deserve the chance to shine. We’re dedicated to providing them with high quality care, close to home, when they need it most. We offer fostering services, children’s homes and 16+ accommodation — keeping young people safe, supporting them to independence and enabling them to achieve their full potential.
Our services are focused on meeting the unique needs of each individual young person. The Q Pack tool, developed by St Christopher’s with Middlesex University’s Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, enables us to track and measure their progress towards a brighter future.
And because many of our children’s homes and 16+ services are designed for “spot purchase” referrals, local authorities have the flexibility to commission exactly the right care at the right time for each young person.
Our latest 16+ service, in West London, for example, offers accommodation and support to care leavers and homeless young people with issues including emotional and behavioural problems, substance misuse, mental ill-health and offending behaviour.
In other areas we work with local authorities to deliver services tailored to the pathways they have developed for young people’s care. We have a long-standing relationship with the Government of the Isle of Man, where we run children’s homes — including the island’s secure children’s home – and supported housing for vulnerable young people.
Our fostering services are growing swiftly. We operate in London, Essex (a specialist service looking after teenagers), the West Midlands, and have just started recruiting foster carers in Peterborough and Cambridge. On 17 January we will open a new office in Peterborough. Fostering can be a demanding job and we are proud of the training and support we offer new carers to equip them.
We are passionate about involving our children and young people through our participation programme, C4C (from Challenge For Change). C4C members interview potential St Christopher’s staff as part of our recruitment process, review our policies and check services for quality.
Some of our C4C members recently made a series of short films, called The Wrap, highlighting issues that affected their lives. We premiered them at a cinema in London’s West End and were delighted when BBC TV’s Newsnight programme used one to illustrate a report on teenage homelessness.
St Christopher’s has come a long way since we began as Homes for Working Boys in 1870. Our focus on creating brighter futures for young people is sharper than ever.