By Judy Cooper
The government has unveiled a strategy for care leavers, outlining what different government departments are doing to improve services for young people leaving care.
Not all the measures are new, but they have been combined in a single strategy so care leavers can see exactly what support should be available to them.
Speaking at the National Care Leaver’s Week annual conference today, children’s minister Edward Timpson said: “For the first time ever, our Care Leaver Strategy will ensure that all government action across every department – from justice to housing, education to finance, is working with one single, united purpose to improve the lives of these vulnerable people.”
The strategy includes:
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introducing a care leaver “marker” so that employment support for care leavers is better tracked and improved.
- The Department for Education (DfE) will continue to fund the Care to Work programme providing care leavers with work experience, apprenticeships and other training opportunities.
- The Department of Health will improve guidance to promote the health and well-being of looked after children, making it clear how health organisations should work with local authorities.
- The Department for Education (DfE) will work with the National Care Advisory Service to improve the training of children’s home staff to better support those leaving placements.
The Department for Communities and Local Government will consult on new social housing guidance that prioritises vulnerable people including care-leavers.
- The DfE will continue to encourage all local authorities to pay at least £2,000 to young people leaving care to pay for things such as the deposit on a flat or train tickets. It claims a letter from Timpson has already resulted in a tripling in the number of councils paying the lump sum through the Setting Up Home Allowance.
The DWP will ensure as part of Universal Credit, that care leavers who need help managing their money are able to access personalised budgeting support.
Debate these issues and more at Community Care Live Children & Families