Wednesday, 4 November 2009

New scheme seeks 'Life Plan' for disabled youngsters

Anglesey has been chosen to pilot a new scheme to ensure that disabled youngsters enjoy a smooth transition into adulthood.

Newly trained key workers will soon begin to play an invaluable role in the lives of 14 young people, aged 14-25, with varying learning and physical disabilities.

Working closely with the youngsters for up to two years, the key workers will co-ordinate their Life Plan, which must ensure that they have access to all the services they need as adults.

The pilot, which has been funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, is led by the County Council's Specialist Children's Service, with support from Care Co-ordination Network UK (CCNUK).

Anglesey's Transition Champion, Sue Boddington, explained, "We've identified 14 young people at different stages in the transition process. Each individual Life Plan will be centred on the young person's unique service needs, ensuring that he or she, their family and relevant agencies are all part of the planning process."

"We expect the key workers to act as friends, mentors and informal advocates. They'll help overcome barriers which can prevent a young person making a successful transition, for example low basic/social skills, lack of equipment, or access to personal care and learning opportunities."

Youngsters themselves will also be encouraged to interact with the agencies independently and seek work placements or employment if possible.

CCNUK Development Co-ordinator for Wales, Sally Rees, added, "The role of the transition key worker is crucial in ensuring that the needs, wishes and aspirations of disabled young people entering adulthood are listened to and, in turn, are acted upon using creativity and person centred thinking to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people and their parents/carers. I look forward to my continual involvement with the Anglesey pilot and how the role of the transition key worker will develop and flourish in the county."

Anglesey's Social Services portfolio holder, Councillor Robert Lloyd Hughes, warmly welcomed the pilot scheme.

He said, "Ensuring access to services for young people with special needs is essential if they're to enjoy a smooth transition into adulthood. The role of our key workers will therefore be vital. I look forward to seeing this project making a positive difference to the lives of the children and their families."

As well as Anglesey, Gwynedd, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Monmouth (regional collaboration with Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen) will be taking part in the pilot project.


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