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ASDAN’s new course empowers care leavers with the skills and knowledge to live independently

ASDAN’s latest course, Moving On, is designed to equip young people preparing to leave care with the knowledge and skills to live independently as a young adult.  

Last summer, ASDAN launched its Moving On pilot to ensure that the course content, resources, training and delivery systems were fit for purpose and devised in collaboration with the education and care professionals who would deliver the programme. The Moving On pilot consisted of nine ASDAN members and over 150 learners in settings across the UK.

Designed for young people aged 16+, Moving On consists of five, journal books, which closely link to the key areas of care leaver pathway plans:  

  • Building a home 
  • Being healthy  
  • Starting your career 
  • Managing money  
  • Relating to people  

Each journal contains key information and practical activities to develop knowledge, skills and reflection on independent living. 

Flexible, need-led course structure meets young people where they are 

Pilot group member, Jamie Diwell expressed how the programme’s flexible structure gives care leavers control to make their own choices: 

"Moving On is so easy and straightforward,” says Jamie. “All our children can work on it independently if they want to and pick and choose sections depending on their personal interests and aims.” 

“We really like the layout of the journals,” says Jamie. “The match-up activities take the pressure off learners, giving them a process of elimination, leading to discussion points, which makes them feel more confident. Moving On develops young people’s self-esteem and self-awareness – it would be incredibly beneficial in any care setting.”  

One young person completing Moving On spoke of the ‘pick-n-mix' nature of the modules: 

“I enjoy working through the modules. I can pick bits from each module as I work through and do a little from each one during each session and this helps me to keep motivated.” 

Developed in partnership with practitioners 

This February, we held our final pilot group meeting, showcasing all the development changes we made as a direct result of the pilot members’ feedback from delivering the course to their young people over the past year. 

Support signposts 

Recent developments include signposts to relevant sources of support shared throughout the Moving On module books, along with reminders and tips. Support information boxes contain helplines and websites offering advice, such as the GOV.UK page for support with paying bills and the cost of living and a signpost to Mental Health and Money Advice. Each support, tip and reminder box has an associated icon to make it easy to identify when needed.  

Jamie Diwell shares an example of how the module information builds learners’ independence: 

“One of our young women was horrifically exploited the first time she moved into semi-independence and she was terrified about doing that again,” says Jamie. “Working through the Building a home module helped her work through the trauma she experienced, and it gave her the help she needed to make sure it didn’t happen again. She recently contacted us to say that she had an issue with her flat but proudly let us know that she’d reached for the Moving On journal and contacted the helpline given. It’s really nice to know that Moving On is being used after they’re with us,” says Jamie.   

Building a personalised support network 

We’ve added a page within each section of the module journals for young people to add their reflections, useful contacts and go-to websites. We hope the journal becomes a rich, personalised resource containing a network of support they can rely on when leaving care. 

Throughout the modules, we use action verbs, such as ‘explain’ and ‘justify’ to encourage young people to gain a deeper understanding of topics and help them express their choices to their trusted adult. 

Pilot member Kirsty Carmichael told us how Moving On has helped learners develop skills in self-reflection: 

“One of our learners has health anxiety. By going through the Being healthy module, we’ve been able to recognise where his anxiety is coming from and it’s enabled him to look at it in a sensible way. He’s worked through it really well. Moving On has helped us a lot with preparing young people for their next steps,” says Kirsty. 

Real-life examples 

The Building a home module accounted for almost half of the 330 module journal orders, reaffirming the need to equip young people with knowledge around tenancy rights, utility bills, home maintenance and kitchen skills– all topics covered in the module book.  

We embedded more real-life examples of the paperwork that young people will encounter when they are responsible for where they live. We added an example of an energy bill, two example payslips and three example credit card statements to the modules to help young people feel prepared and confident to move forward into independence.  

Pilot member, James Scallen, expressed how the journals enable the course deliverer to feel confident in the information they’re giving the learner:  

“Moving On was about wanting to be more confident that our young people were being provided with the same information. It’s great to have something we can refer back to with the young person and help make them feel more prepared.” says James. 

One learner expresses the readiness they’ve gained from Moving On: 

“I don’t have a long-term house yet, but I know how to apply the knowledge I have gained from this course.” 

Moving On launches this month 

We’re incredibly grateful to our pilot group for their rich insight and feedback on this much-needed new course designed to help care leavers to live independently. Moving On will be part of ASDAN’s programmes membership and we’re delighted to be launching this month.