Half of care leavers say they have to leave care too early, a survey of their views has found.
The After Care report by the Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan looked at views from 308 care leavers.
The report found:
*46% of care leavers thought they were made to leave care too early
*49% thought they had been prepared badly or very badly
Typically young people leave home at around 24, but some care leavers in the survey were leaving care as young as 16.
One care leaver quoted in the report said: “As a 16 year old I have gone from a children’s home to a women’s refuge. I have gone from having lots of support to having none.”
Many care leavers said they wanted help with money and practical support, as well as learning about how to obtain and use important documents such as passports, birth certificates and national insurance card.
One care leaver complained about not being able to get a job due to not having their national insurance number.
Morgan said: “Not being prepared to leave care and being made to leave too early were themes that came up again and again in our consultation. Young people telling us about their experiences of leaving care have mentioned that loneliness is something that many are struggling to cope with.
“On a positive note it is encouraging that 61% of care leavers felt their lives had been made better as a result of being in care.”
Sue Kent, professional officer for the British Association of Social Workers, said: “These children are getting a raw deal. The state has a responsibility to parent them, yet some don’t even get their own social worker.
“Unlike those who have strong family bonds, for children in care, their state provided ‘parents’ just disappear unless relationships with foster carers or staff members are sufficiently strong to endure privately.
“Money takes priority over morality when decisions are made about these children, they are not burdens on the state but citizens of it, and they should be helped to reach the milestones and become independent, just like any other child.”
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