FtSE Member News: Action for Children - The system for supporting young people leaving foster or residential care in England to live successful independent lives is not working effectively
The system for supporting young people leaving foster or residential care in England to live successful independent lives is not working effectively, according to a report published today by the National Audit Office.
Only half of children in care have emotional health and behaviour that is considered normal and this poses additional challenges when adapting to life after care. In 2013, 50% of young people were still living with their parents at the age of 22. But young people in care have to leave by their 18th birthday and some have to live independently as soon as they leave care.
The cost of not moving into adulthood successfully is likely to be high to both care leavers and the public. The principal outcome measure is the number of care leavers not in education, employment or training (NEET). In 2013-14, 41% of 19-year-old care leavers were NEET compared with only 15% of their age peers.
" This report is a damning indictment on the care system. It is incredible that 1 in 3 teenagers leave care before they are 18. This means young people who have often had traumatic experiences are living independently at an age when most of their peers are still living with their parents. Action for Children is clear that it is time to renew our efforts for children in care and care leavers. We need a stronger shared understanding of what care is for to improve the lives of care leavers. Providing practical support is not enough. We know that care can provide the stability that children need, but without much greater focus on promoting emotional wellbeing and resilience to recover from traumatic experiences and navigate the challenges of living independently, young people will continue to struggle. "
Emma Smale, Head of Policy and Research and Chair of the Alliance for Children in Care
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