Wings4Youth - Support for young people leaving care through a multi-sectoral approach

The “Wings4Youth” project is co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union.

This project aims to prepare young people ageing out of care to improve their wellbeing and prospects for an independent life. Young people, care givers, care providing organisation and SMEs are working together to develop an integrated models of supporting care leavers for their integration on school for life, mentoring on the job, labour market, especially targeting job coaching and furthermore, tailor made trainings for care givers, companies and NGOs are provided.

In all these activities we consult our most relevant advisers: the young people themselves.

The period of implementation: January 2019 - December 2020

The total cost of the project: 456,887.10 Euro

During its two years of implementation the project will directly address at least 150 care leavers, over 120 care professionals and more than 120 SMEs in Romania and Bulgaria.

The project is led by CONCORDIA Humanitarian Organisation Romania and involves furthers two partners: CONCORDIA Bulgaria and CSR Nest Romania. It primarily targets care leavers in Romania and Bulgaria but the project’s deliverables have European relevance and will be promoted in Europe through the organisations’ memberships to Eurochild and other European networks.

Challenges, we take up

Care leavers are extremely vulnerable. Whereas young adults during their transition to an independent adulthood can fall back on networks of support of their parents and families, most of the young people who grew up in care might have to leave care, irrespective if they have someone to count on for support or not. Additionally to possible traumatic experiences in their childhood, they are less prepared for independent living, have low access to labour market and low availability of a supportive network. Further structural constrains might be present as well: insufficient of dedicated programmes focused on helping the care leavers to gain self-confidence and improve the abilities for an independent life and insufficient connection between young people and the business sector.

Wings4Youth – How to:

1. Equip young people with information and competences to support transition out-of-care and access to employment and a fulfilled life;

2. Provide care professionals with trainings and evidence-based proved models of supporting care leavers, in particular in the area of building life-skills, job coaching and mentoring;

3. Explore public-private partnerships between service providers and the business sector, shaping corporate social responsibility activities of small and medium enterprises to address the needs of young people ageing out of care.

Young people’s voices are heard

From scratch and beyond the projects end: Children and young people will have a voice in decisions which affects their lives. Therefore, two National Youth Representatives from each Romania and Bulgaria are part of the core project team. At a national level they are included in meetings of the national coordination team. All members of the project are responsible to ensure both, that the young people understand the message at any time and that they have the space, voice, audience and influence to engage in participatory decision-making (The Lundy model of child participation, 2007).

The project includes following type of activities:

- Workshops for care leavers and professionals to develop a handbook for life-skills education (“school-for-life”), mentoring and job-coaching services;
- Trainings and demo sessions for professionals and small and medium enterprises to support care leavers toward independent life;
- Awareness raising and advocacy for a socio-economic and political environment which ensures best possible outcomes for care leavers.

What’s next?

Young people got Wings! And this means, that …

Young people in care and (future) care leavers will have increased knowledge about their rights and services they can approach. They will benefit from trained care professionals, equipped with a set of tools and methods on how to support young care leavers. The young people’s psychosocial well-being and self-competence is improved, they have the ability to build and maintain interpersonal relationship, and skills to live an independent life.

Private and public care providing organisations, further national and local authorities are able to provide and promising programmes and structures to assist the transition to independency for young people and improved working conditions for their staff.

The business sector obtain is aware of the need of and develops CSR activities which address young care leavers. SMEs gain better understanding for social sector in general and for young people leaving care in specific. Future employers gain access to talents and competences of care leavers and increases young people’s employment opportunities for a better social integration.

The content of this document represents the views of CONCORDIA Humanitarian Organisation and partners only and is their sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.