Support for care leavers - (UK 2020)

careleavers

 

 

This briefing primarily focuses on England but includes some information on devolved policies. The British Academy paper, Young People leaving care: A four nations perspective (November 2019), provides a short comparative overview of policy across the UK.

Who are care leavers?

Care leavers are young people aged over 16 leaving authority care. Support for younger children moving into and out of care, or leaving care through adoption or other routes, is not considered in detail in this briefing.

Outcomes for care leavers

As noted in the Department for Education’s Keep on Caring, care leavers generally experience worse outcomes than their peers. The National Audit Office’s Care leavers’ transition to adulthood (2015) stated that poorer life outcomes have been a “longstanding problem” and one whose “public cost […] is likely to be high”, giving rise to additional costs in mental health, employment, education, policing and justice services.

UK Government policy

The Coalition Government published its Care leaver strategy in 2013, which identified education, employment, financial support, health, housing, the justice system, and ongoing support as areas where care leavers needed greater provision. In 2016, the UK Government published Keep on caring; Supporting Young People from Care to Independence, which set out additional commitments to “put care leavers first”.

Specific programmes include the funding for Social Impact Bond-backed projects for care leavers, targeted at Bristol, Sheffield and Lewisham, the Care Leavers’ Apprenticeship Bursary to provide financial support, and support to prevent rough sleeping.

In October 2018, the UK Government launched the Care Leaver Covenant for England. This allows public, private and voluntary sector organisations to pledge support, through providing work experience, apprenticeships and free/discounted goods and services.

A ministerial Care Leaver Covenant Board was established in October 2019 to address the key barriers facing care leavers and encourage joint-working across the UK Government.

Summary of support for care leavers in England

On leaving care, a local authority must appoint a Personal Adviser (PA) to help care leavers plan for their futures. PA support is available for all care leavers to age 25. Local authorities must also publish a “local offer” for care leavers, which sets out their legal entitlements, as well as any discretionary support that the authority provides.

Authorities since 2014 have been required to provide financial support to enable young people in foster care to remain living with their former foster family to age 21 in a “Staying Put” arrangement.

Authorities should also provide a £2,000 bursary to care leavers who attend university and are required to provide financial support to help care leavers engage in education, employment and training; and a leaving care grant (£2,000) to help the young person furnish their first home.

 

 

 

Reference:  Loft, P. et al. (2020). Support for care leavers. CBP/08429. London: HoC Library

 

commentary

  

We particularly like the work of the House of Commons Library which is a research and information service based in the UK Parliament.

The House of Commons Library research service provides MPs and their staff with the impartial briefing and evidence base they need to do their work in scrutinising Government, proposing legislation, and supporting constituents. Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in these publicly available research briefings is correct at the time of publication. Readers should be aware however that briefings are not necessarily comprehensive, updated or otherwise amended to reflect subsequent changes. They are working documents (albeit) very good ones designed to avail MPs of a working knowledge of a topic area at the time of publication. 

These publications are particularly useful to students and lecturers (and many others) to provide a good working knowledge of a topic area on the date of their publication (or amendment date). They should be referenced in the normal (author, date) way.

 

 

 

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Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

Attachments:
Download this file (Support for careleavers CBP.pdf)Support for careleavers CBP.pdf[2020]1687 kB

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