123 councils sign care leavers’ charter
According to the government, 123 councils have now signed up to the care leavers’ charter, agreeing to provide young people up to the age of 25 who are leaving care with support and advice to meet their unique needs.
Approximately 10 thousand people between the ages of 16 and 18 leave care each year. Whereas many young people leave education at this point, they still rely on their parents for support, and the government is working to try and provide the same level of support and care for care leavers.
At present, some care leavers have difficulty in accessing the services or financial support they are entitled to and therefore some end up unemployed, with a poor level of training or living in inadequate accommodation.
The care leavers’ charter was launched in 2012 by Edward Simpson, children and families minister, and sets out clear goals for the treatment of people leaving care.
The pledges in the charter mean that councils should:
- Treat young people leaving care as individuals and recognise that their views must be heard.
- Set out a clear plan of how young people leaving care should be supported, which must include the provision of relevant information pertaining to practical and financial support.
- Ensure local authorities provide advice and support for care leavers, which should include pointing them in the right direction to get help with issues such as housing, education, employment and health services.
Mr. Timpson, who grew up with over 80 foster siblings, said of the charter: “Too often I hear stories about young people leaving care feeling isolated, unsupported and facing endless barriers when all they are trying to achieve is the routine, everyday things that others take for granted – such as applying for their first job, getting information about college or university, or finding their first home.”
“Today’s figures are a fantastic achievement, and I know the charter is already making a real difference to the lives of many young people. I now want every one of the 29 councils who hasn’t already made this promise to consider signing up to the charter and prioritise the needs of these vulnerable young people.”