Boost for care leavers

Health minister John Hutton has called on all local authorities
to take part in the next phase of the Teenagers to Work initiative
aimed at boosting the employment prospects of young people leaving

At a launch at the Local Government Association’s headquarters
last week, Hutton urged councils to fulfil their responsibilities
as “corporate parents” by raising the aspirations of the youngsters
in their care.

He added that it was a scandal that in the past care leavers had
been sent out into the world with no qualifications and little or
no hope of securing a decent job.

Under Teenagers to Work, part of the Quality Protects
initiative, young people coming out of care are offered work
experience. Last year, when the scheme was first launched,
placements included the health minister’s office and social
services departments.

Speaking to an audience that included a number of young people
who have taken part in the project, Hutton said the government
wanted to change the world for young people in care as quickly as

“Last year, 350 young people were offered work experience by 50
local authorities. I hope next year that rather than 50 we will
have them all taking part. It is the job of local authorities to
make a difference and there is a lot to be done, but this sort of
scheme could really transform the lives of young people in

Young people who had work experience at Camden social services
department in London, did a presentation for the minister. They
told him they had found working for a local authority “a bit
surreal” but felt they had learned a lot and and that it boosted
their confidence.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced new proposals
to give all young people more of a voice in government. The plans
include a new Young People’s Advisory Forum of 10-17 year olds and
involving young people in developing services will become a core
requirement for funding under the children’s fund.

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