Development of a Digital Resource for Care Leavers

The Foundation provided a £300,000 grant in 2018 to support Barnardo’s four-year development of the Journey app aiming to increase resilience of children and young people leaving care and increase the likelihood of employment, training or education. We are delighted that, despite the challenges of the last two years, this is now able to be accessed by care leavers.

The programme identified and engaged with a test group of 75 care leavers and care workers, reporting an 80% satisfaction with the prototype tool, and a 10% increase in ‘keeping in touch’ opportunities by care leavers.

This year has seen testing of the app among CareTech plc staff and young people – across 40 sites, with onboard training now taking place. Barnardo’s report that they have had good feedback across different service types – with Leaving Care, Supported Lodgings, Employment & Training, Home Support Services, and Transitional Training flats all finding the Journey model a good fit.

Feedback from one of their young people in care testing the app, Jason:

“I really love it. I’ve been kind of advocating for it from the start. I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s a great tool for young people to use and to actually just have a little app on their phone that they can open up that has their actions and their goals for [service] on it. It is so useful.”

And positive feedback among case workers too:

“So in a session, if they’re on Journey, I will incorporate that. So they’ll look at it on their screen, I’ll look at it on mine or I’ll share my screen with them…and we just got through it. And then sometimes I’m putting the goals in the tasks and assigning it to them. Sometimes they’re doing it. Sometimes we do it together. And then they edit it until they get the idea of what it’s about and how it works…”

“One of my young people has been actually more motivated since having Journey, which is good. And that’s because he really struggles to organize himself…so just having it there in his pocket on his phone has actually made him engage better and to actually do more.”

The final app is being launched in 2022 as a commercial proposition within Barnardo’s, supporting young people in care while also raising funds to support more young people.

“Barnardo’s is always looking for innovative new ways to scale and improve the services we offer – through doing this we can reach and support more young people in need and help them get the best possible start to their independence. Barnardo’s are delighted to be working with CareTech Foundation to make this happen.”
Michelle Lee-Izu, Corporate Director for Children’s Services (England), Barnardo’s