Young people leaving care have the same ambitions as any other young people but they can become hidden when they do not have a family behind them.
The Children's Commissioner for Wales, and her team have heard of the ambitions of young people leaving care to work in a whole variety of different jobs and sectors but they have also told her about the problems they have faced in accessing opportunities. These include financial barriers, lack of information and support for developing the skills necessary to access the world of work. Three inequalities in particular came up in a number of conversations;
(1) Young people being moved out of foster care or residential care as soon as they turn 18, even when this is in the middle of an important year of studies such as A-levels.
(2) Post 18 living arrangements known as ‘When I’m Ready’ do not allow young people to stay in their residential care home past the age of 18, unlike young people in foster care.
(3) Support for care leavers ends at the age of 21 unless that young person is engaged in education or training yet those not in education, training or work are more likely to need support.
Reference: CCW. (2018). Hidden Ambitions: Achieving the best for young people leaving care. Swansea: CCW
In this spotlight report, Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, is asking local and national government, charities, and private enterprise to pledge their support to realising the ambitions of young people leaving care. The Commissioner wants to ensure young people leaving care can have the same expectations in terms of care and support as their peers.
The one year on report is attached also highlighting progress and challenges to the recommendations of the initial report.
When the Care Standards Act gained royal assent on 20 July 2000 it established the office of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales with functions limited to children’s care services regulated by that Act. The Commissioner’s functions under this Act included reviewing and monitoring the arrangements for complaints made by service providers, whistleblowing, advocacy, the provision of advice and information, the power to examine particular cases, providing other assistance and making reports. In 2001 the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act extended the Commissioner’s role to all children. It also gave the commissioner the power to review proposed legislation and policy from the National Assembly for Wales considering the potential effect that it might have on children, and to make representations to the National Assembly for Wales about any matter that affects children.
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