A new Naas organisation is hoping to fill a gap in the social services which see many young adults falling into homelessness, crime or worse.
It is generally acknowledged by those who work with young people in the care of the State that the transition from being a teenager in care to life on their own is a troublesome time.
The sudden change from a high support environment to a support-free environment is often a difficult one.
Young people often lack the life skills needed to survive on their own.
“It’s very hard to put an old head on young shoulders,” Paula McHale explains.
She and Nick Butler haveworked in residential care for many years, and have established the After Residential Care Trust, which aims to provide a “wraparound service for young people leaving residential care”.
One young woman, Sarah, told the Leinster Leader “If I was made independent at18 I’d kill myself. At 18, you know nothing”.
Sadly suicide is a common feature with some as well as substance abuse and minor brushes with the law.
Now approaching her 20th birthday, Sarah has done well working with Ms. McHale.
Even though the service offered is, good value for money compared to the burden on the State posed by unsupported young people, it does not fall under the auspicious of any one Government department.
Mr. Butler and Ms. McHale are very grateful to the people of Naas for the support thus far, but they need, and are working towards securing a more substantial and permanent source of funding.
- Conor McHugh