Concern about support for young adult care-leavers has been raised following the suicide of a former child in care in Waltham Forest, London.
The young man, who died last week, was 23-years-old and had been in the care of social services until he was 18. His case was closed in July 2009.
While the man was not in the council’s care when he died, Waltham Forest is carrying out a case review to see if any lessons can be learned.
Joyce Moseley, chief executive of children’s charity Catch22, said young people entering adulthood needed at least as much support as younger children.
“In the 16-25 age group there’s a complete drop off in education and children’s services and as far as I’m concerned that drop couldn’t happen at a worse time for a young person who has had difficult situations in their lives,” she told Community Care.
“At that age, they’re just starting to get their lives together and on track and support and help are very hard to come by. Adulthood doesn’t come pre-packaged.”
Catch22 has a campaign about the issue called Ready or Not, which calls for the 16-25 group to be seen as a distinct life stage.
Local authorities have a duty to care for children until they are 18 and then have a responsibility to provide services under the Children Leaving Care Act until the young people are 21, unless they are in higher education, in which case they receive services until they are 24.
These services can take the form of providing financial assistance, personal advisers and accommodation.
What do you think? Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails