Care leavers should expect the same level of care and support that other young people get from their parent/s.
This strategy is based on the principles of good corporate parenting. It sets out the government’s commitment to remove some of the practical barriers that care leavers face as they progress into adulthood. This document outlines the steps that government departments are taking to reflect the needs of care leavers in their policies. We want to see holistic and quality support provided in all mainstream and specialist services by: local authorities; Jobcentre plus; housing; health bodies; the justice system; and, educational institutions. We want to see services that are integrated, simplified, and that treat care leavers with respect and dignity.
Whilst this document does not attempt to capture every difficulty care leaver’s experience, it is accurate to say the broad areas of concern for them are:
• Financial support
• Justice System
• On-going support
As well as reiterating the government’s commitment to supporting care leavers to realise their aspirations, the strategy outlines the actions the government is taking to specifically address the above areas of concern for care leavers.
Reference: HM Government. (2013). Care Leaver Strategy: A cross-departmental strategy for young people leaving care. London: DfE
Research and inspection reports show that the quality of support care leavers receive is patchy and that their journey through the first decade of adult life is often disrupted, unstable and troubled. They often struggle to cope and this can lead to social exclusion, long-term unemployment, or involvement in crime. For example, 34% of all care leavers were not in education, employment, or training (NEET) at age 19 in 2013 compared to 15.5% of 18-year-olds in the general population.
The Coalition Government published this Careleaver 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; these policy commitments were variously incorporated into the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
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