The Children’s Minister, Edward Timpson MP yesterday launched the Care Leavers Charter. He has written to all Directors of Children’s Services asking them to implement the Charter.
TACT welcomes the Charter as a statement of intent of support for care leavers and hopes local authorities sign up to it. We are particularly pleased to see the last paragraph talks of being a ‘lifelong champion’ for children who have been in care. It is the need for support in accessing essential services and support after leaving care where young people can experience the greatest difficulties
However, the Charter is also limited. In particular:
On the day the Charter was published, the Department for Education (DfE) also published a Care Leavers Data Pack which showed, for example, that the numbers of young people in 2011-12 who were not in education, employment or training had risen from 33 percent in the previous year to 36 percent. This shows how much work needs to be done to give young people moving into independence the best chances.
TACT believes that the whole system of leaving care needs to be reassessed. If the state has intervened in the life of a child to become their parent, then the obligations that flow from that should see support based according to need rather than age. We want to see care leavers who need them given priority access to health and other services on an ongoing basis. Any costs involved will be greatly offset by the societal savings that would follow.
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