Education & Family

Councils to support care leavers into adulthood

Young girl in distress
Image caption Local authorities are promising to 'help and support' care leavers until they are 25 years old

More than 120 of England's local authorities have committed to provide support and advice to care leavers until their 25th birthday.

The councils have signed up to the Care Leavers' Charter, which sets out the challenges facing people leaving care.

Around 10,000 young people aged between 16 and 18 leave care each year.

The government says they should expect the same level of care and support that their friends and classmates get from their parents.

The charter was launched by the Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson in October 2012.

It outlines the measures councils should take to help young people leaving care, including putting them in touch with the services they need, such as housing, colleges and universities, employers and health services.

Isolated and unsupported

Mr Timpson, who grew up with foster siblings, said the sign-up rate was "a fantastic achievement", and said the charter was already "making a real difference to the lives of many young people".

"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," he said.

He called on the remaining 29 councils in England to follow suit and "prioritise the needs of these vulnerable young people".

Figures released by the Department for Education suggest that more than 1,100 care leavers aged 16 or over are now living in independent accommodation without any support.

The figures also suggest a third of care leavers aged 19 or over are not in education, employment or training, and only 6% of care leavers aged 19 or over went on to higher education.

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