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Timpson: Record Number Of Councils Sign 'Care Leavers' Charter'

One hundred and twenty-three councils in England have signed the ‘Care leavers’ charter’

Published on 08 March 2014

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by Edward Timpson MP


London, England

Young Person
Young Person

One hundred and twenty-three councils across England have now signed up to the ‘Care leavers’ charter’, pledging to provide young people leaving care with comprehensive support and advice until they reach their 25th birthday.

The charter, launched by Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson in October 2012, clearly sets out how care leavers should be treated and the support they should expect to receive from their local authority. It also recognises the unique challenges facing young people leaving care, such as moving into their first home as an independent adult, and points to the practical support they need.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families who grew up with over 80 foster brothers and sisters, said:

"One hundred and twenty-three councils have now signed up to the ‘Care leavers’ charter’ - pledging to provide young people leaving care with the vital help and support they need as they take their first steps into adulthood.

"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."

Around 10,000 young people aged between 16 to 18 leave care each year. The government believes that care leavers should expect the same level of care and support that their friends and classmates get from their parents. Yet some can find it difficult to navigate services or work out what support they are entitled to, with too many ending up unemployed, out of training or education or living in poor accommodation.

Figures published by the Department for Education this year shows that:

  • over 1,100 care leavers aged 16 or over are now living in independent accommodation without any formalised support
  • 34% of care leavers aged 19 or over are not in education, employment or training
  • just 6% of care leavers aged 19 or over went on to higher education

The charter sets out a wide range of commitments to improve the help and support available to young people leaving care across all areas in life, including:

  • making it clear that young people leaving care should be treated as individuals with their own views and ambitions that should be listened to and taken on board
  • setting out how care leavers should be supported, so they know what to expect from their council - including being provided with full information on the practical and financial support they can expect
  • helping local authorities to better advise and support young people leaving care and moving onto adulthood - putting them in touch with the services they need, such as housing, colleges and universities, employers and health services - and can be used as a tool and guide for what care leavers can expect

The ‘Care leavers’ charter’ is just 1 of a series of measures the government has made to improve outcomes for young people leaving care as they make the transition to adulthood. We have been working with local authorities and voluntary organisations such as the National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) and the Care Leavers Foundation to overhaul the way in which they are supported.

Edward Timpson has written to all local authorities asking them to dramatically improve financial support for care leavers, resulting in a tripling in the number of councils now paying £2,000 or more through the setting up home allowance.

We have introduced Junior Independent Savings Accounts for all care leavers, with over 46,000 accounts now open with a £200 contribution from government, and provided over £280,000 to the Care Leavers Foundation andNCAS to help improve support and outcomes for young people leaving residential care.

We have also improved accountability by publishing an annual data pack, outlining statistics on care leavers’ education and employment status, and from this autumn Ofsted’s local authority children’s service inspection framework will place extra emphasis on the outcome of care leavers.

For more information about this press release including Editor's Notes and contact details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/timpson-record-number-of-councils-sign-care-leavers-charter



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Posted 2014-03-08 12:43:00