As part of our partnership with Leicestershire County Council (LCC) we've been testing a service-design approach to how children and young people are matched with residential care settings.
We know that increasing numbers of younger children are going into residential care for the first time, many with complex needs. LCC faces a shortage of places for these children, which leads to challenges in the matching process.
Our service design team is working with LCC to transform the matching process by taking a user-focused approach. By getting a better understanding of the user needs we aim to:
- improve stability for the child or young person entering care
- increase the young person’s choice when selecting a placement
- decrease placement moves and placement breakdowns
Understanding user needs
To help LCC meet the needs of these children and young people we’re exploring:
- how and when they are matched to a residential home
- their experience of the matching process
- how much choice they have in selecting a suitable placement
- who works with the child in helping them move into a new home
- what we can learn from other local authorities
During our discovery phase we are:
- running interviews and workshops with LCC staff to understand how the matching process works
- mapping the processes and systems involved in making a residential placement match
- interviewing children and young people in residential care to understand their experiences of placement matching
- co-designing solutions to problems with people who use the matching process, including children and young people in residential care, those who have left care, placement teams, front-line staff and social workers
We will analyse what we learn from this discovery phase and create a unified approach to placement matching based on user needs.