The National Care Advisory Service today launched a guide for local authorities to supporting care leavers to live independently.
The guide, Journeys to home: care leavers’ successful transition to independent accommodation, was funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families as a way of tackling the lack of support faced by many young people leaving local authority care.
Disproportionate levels of homelessness
The NCAS, which is part of young people’s charity Catch22, said that a disproportionate number of the 8,000 young people leaving care each year a ended up homeless compared to the national average.
The charity said that more needed to be done despite initiatives such as the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, which gave care leavers the right to a personal adviser until at least the age of 21 and a pathway plan, including support with housing.
Risk of poor outcomes
The charity also warned that 18 to 21-year-olds were at a particular risk of “poor outcomes” because of a lack of joint working between housing departments, accommodation providers and children’s services.
NCAS national manager John Hill said that young care leavers needed help getting employment and making links with their local community.
He continued: “With these resources, we hope to make people aware of the areas where young people leaving care can have difficulty, and show them how they can work to address the young person as a whole individual, rather than just someone who needs to find somewhere to live.”
Schools minister Diana Johnson added: “We know how difficult it can be for a young person leaving the care system and are keen to ensure the support and advice they need is readily available.
“I hope local authorities make use of these resources which are part of a range of measures we are supporting to improve outcomes for children in, for for you people leaving, the care system.”