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After her 'stay put' agreement with her foster carer broke down, Ellie was referred to Key's high-quality supported accommodation to support her transition to independence.

Ellie, aged 17, was initially planned to ‘Stay Put’ with her current carer, Anne, after turning 18. However, their relationship deteriorated over a matter of months. Ellie had been pushing boundaries, being disrespectful towards Anne, and frequently coming home under the influence of cannabis and alcohol. This behaviour not only affected her emotions and presentation but also led to her being reported missing on numerous occasions. As a result, Anne decided to submit notice for the placement.

Ellie’s relationships with her mother and father also broke down as they struggled to manage her behaviour and provide the necessary parenting. Both parents had their own mental health issues, and their relationships with Ellie were inconsistent and unstable. Although Ellie maintained contact with both parents, reconciliation was unlikely.

Upon moving into Askins Lodge, Ellie settled in well and started engaging with her support worker. Her social worker noticed a maturity in Ellie during visits, and her behaviours improved. It was agreed that Ellie would participate in the MATRIX program (Young people’s drug and alcohol service) as part of her support plan, and she formed positive friendships within the accommodation.

Attending college seemed to help Ellie with her mental health struggles. It was identified that she found it challenging to regulate her emotions, often becoming unpredictable and verbally abusive, going from ‘0 to 100’ when frustrated. Additionally, she could quickly switch between different moods due to small triggers, such as not getting something she asked for. Substance use further exacerbated these issues. Although she was not ready to access therapeutic support for her substance use, she had been previously referred to CYPS (Children and Young People’s Service).

In the following months, Ellie’s behaviour began to decline. She disengaged from the MATRIX program, and her daily drug and alcohol use became more apparent. This was particularly noticeable after disagreements with her parents during visits, leading to confrontations with residents upon her return to Askins Lodge. Ellie admitted to staff that she had been using ecstasy, which also resulted in more episodes of self-harm. One attempt on her life led to her admission to the hospital.

Despite receiving multiple warnings, Ellie showed no progress in her behaviour. A retention plan was developed with the agreement of multiple agencies to find a property for Ellie with fewer residents, as her relationships with the current group at Askins Lodge had become confrontational. Ellie was moved to a much smaller property with a more homely atmosphere, Strickland house, where she thrived due to the small-scale and close-knit nature of the placement.

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*Please note that names may have been changed and stock photography used to preserve the anonymity of this young person

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