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Improving Outcomes for Care Leavers

Commenting in CYP Now about local authority efforts to improve outcomes for care leavers, Alison O’Sullivan, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“Young people leaving care have to start living independently much earlier than their peers and they may not have the family or support network which is why improving outcomes for children and young people in our care is a priority for all local authorities. Sadly research tells us that care leavers are more likely to be unemployed, have mental health problems, experience homelessness or spend time in prison. And our own research What is Care For? (April 2013) shows that whilst outcomes for most groups of children in care are good, the system is particularly ill-equipped to help those who first enter care as adolescents. It is therefore crucial that the system is designed, commissioned and delivered to realise the right placement at the right time for every young person to help them lead happy and successful lives.

“In order to improve outcomes for young care leavers we know that the development of effective relationships between carers and children and stability in care are key. In my own local authority, in Kirklees, we have introduced the Pillars of Parenting approach in all children’s homes across the borough. Central to this approach is the close guidance that staff receive to help them understand the causes of the issues faced by children in care so that they are able to consider the different interventions that can be used to instil a sense of self-confidence in every young person helping them to have high aspirations for the future. Another issue that can lead to poor outcomes is that vulnerable young people are leaving care earlier than is right for them. We welcome the extension of the Staying Put scheme for young people living in foster care. This has provided some young people with the stability they need and deserve. However I feel strongly that similar support should be extended to include those in residential care, they are arguably the most vulnerable of all.”


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

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