TACT has joined forces with six other charities – Barnardo’s, The Care Leavers Association, Catch 22, The Fostering Network, Voice and The Who Cares? Trust – to call on the Government to make radical changes to the way that care leavers are supported in England. The Care Leavers Coalition have outlined the case for reform in their briefing, Still Our Children, published today.
Many young people in care will have experienced difficult and often traumatic childhoods and many of them will have been abused or neglected. At the age of 21 years the relationship between the young person and the state often ends abruptly, which can lead to poor outcomes for care leavers.
The coalition call comes as the Queen’s Speech marks the opening of a new Parliament and the Government sets out its plans for the next term. The Children and Families Bill – in which care leavers are not mentioned at all – is reaching a crucial stage as it makes its way through the House of Commons.
The Care Leavers Coalition wants to see three specific changes in the Bill:
“I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of living on my own just then – I was juggling my last year at university with being a single mum – I felt there was just too much on my plate at that time. I was basically told you’re not the only young person who needs accommodation.
“Having more flexibility around the support I could have had would have made a real difference to me.”
The number of young people aged 16 and over leaving care has risen each year from 8,170 in 2007 to 10,000 in 2012.
The state has a role as corporate parent which the Care Leavers Coalition believes it is failing to fulfil. Changes are needed to improve comparatively low outcomes for care leavers:
Read our briefing paper: Still Our Children – case for reforming the leaving care system in England
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