DYPAS - Devon Young People's Accommodation Service
DYPAS - Devon Young People’s Accommodation Service
What we do
DYPAS and its carers provide a safe, healthy, nurturing environment for vulnerable young people of 16+ who need to develop independent living skills so they can work towards ‘going it alone’ as young adults.
Some of the young people have not experienced a positive family environment, and struggle to form meaningful relationships – making it hard to face the outside world.
That’s why they need a firm base in a carefully matched family home. A place where they can first find their feet, then learn how to succeed and become responsible and productive members of society in their own right.
We need dedicated carers from a wide variety of backgrounds to provide those family homes. It can sometimes be challenging, but the rewards of seeing a young person you’ve helped become established in a career, perhaps with a young family of their own, just can’t be measured.
How we support our carers
Because of the nature of the task, we make sure each DYPAS carer has a high level of support.
Every placement has a Support Worker, who works with carers and young people. They are all experienced professionals and help with problem solving, advocacy and guidance. They also and offer support in meetings with other agencies like social workers, the Youth Offending Team (YOT), Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS), police and education.
The amount of support is flexible, and depends on the young person’s Care Plan. There’ll be regular visits or phone calls from the Support Worker, and there’ll be an opportunity for both carers and young people to talk through issues, positive and negative, to make sure that support is consistent and development towards independence is on track. Carers and young people can always contact their support worker outside these scheduled times, and there’s an out-of-hours service for emergencies.
Support Workers also help in the emotional, physical, academic and social development of the young people. They meet with them regularly to work through issues, and give guidance with pathway plans and help with developing areas that might need extra time and input.
As DYPAS is part of the Fostering Service, carers will have access to the full fostering training programme which includes a wide range of core and specialist courses that help to develop knowledge and skills.
Three levels of care
Every young person is individual, and those looked after by DYPAS require different levels of care, input and experience. To reflect this there are three levels of payment, all of which include an allowance to cover day-to-day costs.
This is the usual type of placement, and includes support to help the young person work with their Pathway Plan or Care Plan. For example, it could involve dealing with contact, health, education, or leisure. The weekly rate was £281.82 in 2010/11.
Young people placed at this level include those with a limited education programme; those with additional support needs who require supervision all day; over 16’s Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs); and parent and child placements. The payment for this band was £359.80 per week in 2010/11.
Carers at Band 3 look after the most demanding young people. They will show challenging or chaotic behaviour; offending or anti-social behaviour; and may be tagged, bailed or remanded. They may have a learning disability or mental health problems, and could misuse drugs, alcohol, or other substances.
Often they have had multiple placement moves – or they could be moving from secure unit accommodation, returning to DCC from the independent sector, or be in need of an emergency placement. This is reflected in the weekly payment, which was £462.63 in 2010/11.
The role of a DYPAS carer
At the start of each placement you will have a meeting with the young person, their Care Manager, and a DYPAS Support Worker. In some cases there will also be an Independent Reviewing Officer.
At this meeting you’ll be given a copy of the young person’s care plan, risk assessment, and where applicable, their activities agreement, education information and medical and dental details. You’ll provide a copy of your House Rules, and agree any amendments that might be necessary.
Once a placement has begun, the young person must be accommodated and catered for as part of the family, taking into account any special requirements they might have. As young people in care often have more challenges and vulnerabilities than their peers, the role of the DYPAS carer has a number of essential elements:
- to make sure that the young people attend their education or work placements – because all DYPAS young people must be encouraged to reach their full potential.
- to help them to maintain and promote family and social relationships.
- to make sure they receive the right health care for their physical, emotional and social development.
- to make sure they are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and deprivation.
- to attend placement meetings, permanency planning meetings, reviews and any other meetings concerning the young person.
- to keep a brief daily account of events in order to build a clear picture of the young person’s development.
- to make sure they develop their skills for independence by taking part in the ‘Go It Alone’ programme.
How to become a DYPAS carer
The first step is an initial home visit from the DYPAS manager so that you can find out more about the service, what’s expected of carers, what the accommodation requirements are, and any other questions you’d like to ask. We then give you time to think about it, and if you then decide you’d like to go ahead the formal assessment will begin.
This consists of a Criminal Records Bureau check; a health and safety check of your home; a health check with your local doctor; character references from 2 people outside your family; and a report on the qualities and abilities you could bring to being a carer.
When the assessment is complete it then goes before a Fostering Panel, who will also want to meet you and the assessing officer. Their recommendation then goes to the agency decision maker for the final decision.
DYPAS gives you the opportunity to make a big difference to vulnerable young adults – giving them a firm foundation on which to build a meaningful, rewarding life.
If you’re interested in finding out more call 0845 155 1013.