Ofsted has called on councils to review their care leavers’ services following a study of six authorities that found young people faced barriers to low-level mental health services, employment and suitable accommodation.
Staff in leaving care services also lacked training in supporting young people and had no means to assess their progress in some areas, the review between August and December 2008 found.
Young people in secure settings were particularly disadvantaged by limited opportunities to practice independent living skills, and over three-quarters said they were uncertain of their plans on leaving.
The inspectorate called on local authorities to collate and analyse outcomes for care leavers and the effectiveness of corporate parenting strategies, increase housing options and improve staff training.
Ofsted’s recommendations to the Department for Children, Schools and Families included reviewing the quality and availability of lower-tier mental health services for care leavers and developing staff skills.
The inspectorate highlighted key areas of good practice, including the provision of “tailor-made”, flexible support packages for care leavers and involving young people in the development of services.
Looked-After Children: Innovative, multi-agency approaches for successful care strategies
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