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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

Comment: Ofsted report on care leavers and preparing to leave...

Edwina Grant OBE, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said:

“Local authorities are ambitious about improving the lives of care leavers and take our corporate parenting responsibilities very seriously. Leaving home can be an anxious time for most young people and many of us continue to rely on others for practical and emotional support long after the age of 18. For young people leaving care who have to start living independently much earlier than their peers and who may not have the family or support network to help them it can be particularly difficult.

“Preparing young people to leave care and equipping them with the skills they need to live on their own and navigate adulthood, such as how to cook, budget and access support, is crucial. Many young people who leave care are successfully supported into independent adult lives, unfortunately however, this is not always the case. As the report notes, some care leavers surveyed left care earlier than was right for them, many felt isolated and didn’t know where to turn for support. Worries about finances were common. “Is this good enough for my own child?” is the test and all local authorities are committed to this. Council tax exemptions and the creation of specific apprenticeships are just some examples of the different ways councils are supporting their care leavers. However, there is more to do, across local and national government, to achieve the best outcomes for every child in and young person leaving care, especially for those who would benefit from support for much longer than the current cut-off age. The children we care for deserve nothing less.

“I am sure that Directors of Children’s Services will use this report to consider their local offer to care leavers and consider any improvements that can be made. Beyond this, the national review of children’s social care must be bold for care leavers and not shy away from challenging the system where it is not working for them. Where we know initiatives, such as Staying Close and the House Project, are helping to prepare young people for independence and making a difference in their lives, these could helpfully be rolled out nationally, with funding from government.”

ENDS



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