Young people in care entering higher education face a lottery as to
how much financial support they will receive from their local
authority, a new report reveals.
Research carried out by the Thomas Coram Research Unit finds great
inconsistency in the amount of funding provided between and within
Findings also show that, in some cases, the level and type of
support received was entirely down to the attitudes, efforts and
knowledge of individual social workers.
Young people said that some social workers planned placement moves
just weeks before GCSEs or A-levels without discussion, seemingly
unaware of the likely effect on their educational
Although some young people reported being served well by their
social workers, many felt they could not rely on them because of
high turnover and heavy caseloads.
The study also criticises the common practice of fostering
allowances being abruptly cut off on young peoples’ 18th birthdays,
with some families then being unable to afford to continue to look
By Degrees is the first report from a five-year study
following three groups of successive students and covered 46 young
people. It concludes by calling for local authorities to fulfil
their obligations under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, which
had not come into force at the time this survey was carried
The research was published by the National Children’s Bureau in
association with the Frank Buttle Trust, a charity providing grants
exclusively to individual children in need.
– Report from www.ncb.org.uk