WS9_Success Pathways: itineraries for autonomy

Implementation Steps

Background: The exercise will be developed with ageing-out children in the context of their institution.

  1. Ice Breaker (15min or depending on the size of the group): M&M presentation

a.  Materials: big bag of M&M’s

b.  Directions: Grab a small handful of M&Ms (as many as you like). Then, after everyone has taken as many as they like, and before they can eat them, they must share a fact about the way they envision the dream house. Try to see what they perceive as a priority to have a dream house and if needed, (re)direct the discussion in terms of safety, stability, cleanliness and roommates.

Discussion: When choosing a living arrangement, a child in care should think about the answers on 3 important elements:

  • Where is my support system? Housing and my support system will direct the area where I would like to live in. Open a discussion about their support system, their permanent relationships, and if transportation is nearby so they can get to work or school. Some neighbourhoods are more expensive to live in but, if important support services or people who help them are nearby or transportation to school and work costs less, they may want to pay the extra money if these benefits are there to minimize the risks of losing the accommodation.
  • How much money do I have? Young people need to save money before leaving the care system (please see the Financial and money management Pillar activities). Understanding that moving into an apartment or room has upfront costs, such as a security deposit, fees for turning on utilities and buying basic furnishings.
  • How well can I take care of myself? Do they realize the responsibilities they will be assuming, from washing dishes to doing the laundry and making sure they have the supplies they need? When sharing a room or a house how to deal with roommates and keeping the private and common places clean.

2. Exercise 1 – Star Goals (1h15min)

a)  Materials: Worksheets (Annex 1 and 2) Writing utensils; Coloured pencils

b)  Directions: 1. First pass out the Star Goals worksheet (Annex 1). This worksheet is intended to help mentees brainstorm goals. Mentees should write down a goal related to housing in each one of the stars, but do not need to explain the goal just yet. Once they are done writing their goals for each category, they will have to draw a picture outside of the star that has to do with the goal to give them a visual representation of their goal. 2. Next, pass out the Star Goals Questions worksheet (Annex 2). This worksheet will have questions regarding the goals they just made for themselves. Have mentees answer the questions, offering them help if they need it. After they finish, discuss their answers, and how important goals are and how goals are linked to their specific time frame until moving into their new house.

Exercise 2 – Housing Success Story (1h)

a) Directions: The peer successful care leaver should tell his personal success story in an interactive style, allowing the participants to ask questions. An alternative could be also involving previous care leavers that were involved in the semi-independent care system.

b) Objective: discuss and create alternative pathways to different housing stories that will take into consideration the cultural, social, emotional and personality characteristics of each case.


    1. Discuss with the children in care that the first place they live after state care may not be the home of their dreams; when they first age out, they may only have enough money for a rented room but after working for awhile, they may be able to pay for an apartment of their own.
    2. Discuss with children in care local housing support from NGOs and governmental organisations.