Aquarius CARES

Aquarius Cares

Aquarius CARES supports looked-after children and young people who are affected by a parent’s substance use or mental health. We help to develop resilience and coping strategies, and build positive relationships.

We can support you in a wide range of areas, entirely based on your own needs, strengths and interests. You’ll take part in our 12 session CHOICES programme to help develop your resilience and coping strategies, and have the opportunity to take part in loads of activities throughout the year with other people in similar situations.

Ultimately, we aim to help you form healthy relationships and feel heard, empower you to improve your communication and feel better supported as an individual and as a family.

We have trained volunteer young people and parents as peer mentors for 1:1 and group support session. This is a chance for you to get some advice, make new friends, reduce isolation, and have fun with people who know what you’re going through.

Aquarius CARES is here to support people with experience of care in Birmingham, including:

  • Children and young people in care or at risk of returning to care
  • Care leavers up to 25 years old
  • Wider families of children and young people in care
  • Kinship carers

You can refer yourself, or be referred by a professional. Just complete this referral form [link] and email it to

Our award-winning CHOICES programme focuses on resilience-building and support over 12 sessions, which include:

  • A full assessment and action plan based on your personal situation, what you need and what you want out of the programme
  • Identifying support networks
  • Building resilience, self-protection and removing blame
  • Support around drugs, alcohol, mental health and eating disorders, bullying, gangs and online safety
  • Young carers support
  • Self-identity, self-esteem and setting goals
  • Building healthy relationships

We offer activities for under-16s, including in school holidays, such as art groups, gardening and outdoor fun, day trips to the zoo, Halloween and Christmas parties and much more!

Our support is available for the whole family. Depending on your needs, this could be intensive 1:1 support, positive activities, and opportunities to meet families in similar situations.

We empower care leavers so they feel physically and emotionally equipped to successfully transition from care into the community. In addition to our 1:1 Choice programme and family support, we offer:

  • Peer mentoring and training to become a peer mentor
  • Opportunities to get involved with shaping the service
  • Positive activities and qualifications through Aquarius’ other projects

Kinship care is when a child is looked after by a close relative such as a grandparent. It is estimated that over 200,000 grandparents in the UK care for a grandchild. Of these, 67% are a result of substance misuse.

Kinship care situations can be positive for children and carers, but can also have negative impacts such as financial difficulties, poor health, and difficulties continuing to work for carers, and feelings of rejection and loss for children, disruption to their lives and routines, and developmental delays.

Substance misuse means problematic drinking or drug use. When we say ‘affected’ by substance misuse, we mean that we work with young people who are drinking or using drugs themselves OR who have a family member who drinks or uses drugs.

Contact / referral details

We welcome referrals from professionals and self-referrals. Just download this form and email it to us.