MACS plans innovative new solution to help needs of young people in care

MACS plans innovative new solution to help needs of young people in care

13 April 2017

Over the next few weeks we'll be looking at some of our Social Innovation Skills projects in a bit more detail. First up we have MACS NI...

An organisation that supports young people in care, is seeking to build a Children’s Home that will provide specialised treatment for young people suffering from trauma, abuse and mental health issues.

MACS, which is based on the Ormeau Road is one of five organisations that have been chosen to take part in the Social Innovation Skills programme, funded by the Building Change Trust and delivered by WorkWest and Enterprise North West.

One of MACS key services is housing provision and it is looking at finding a solution to the increasing problem of young people leaving care at a younger age and presenting complex behaviours relating to early childhood.

Mary Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of MACS said that the current options for young people in care in NI are fostering, kinship care, adoption and children’s homes.

She added: “The majority of young people have positive experiences in fostering, kinship care and adoption. However young people with very complex behaviours are normally supported and cared for in Children’s homes as fostering is unable to meet their acute needs which require a skilled and professional response.

“However, Care Matters has indicated that too many placements break down, and there is a shortage of intensive support placements. The Department of Health has already recognised that new initiatives are needed in particular the issue of children being placed into residential children’s homes which are not appropriate to meet their needs.

“MACS ambition is to create an environment that offers children the opportunity to come to terms with previous experiences of trauma, abuse, loss, rejection and poor attachments. This will be achieved by the development of a Children’s Home, which will accommodate up to four children. It will provide a normalised environment, in a rural setting with a skilled staff team who will deliver a specialist therapeutic response".

Its foresees that this project could be repeated across all of the Trust areas or developed into a range of children’s homes designed to meet specific age group and issue based need.

MACS will join four other organisations in the Social Innovation Skills Programme.

Work West and Enterprise North West are delivering an intensive training and mentoring programme to equip the organisations with problem solving skills. The teams will then be brought together for a full day Social Innovators Mentoring session to refine and evaluate their ideas, and identify next steps.

Once the programme is completed, all teams can apply for a Social Innovation NI seed fund worth up to £15k  to enable them to transform their ideas into reality.

Click here to find out more about Social Innovation NI and the Social Innovation Skills programme. 

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