Supporting Care Leavers in the Transition to Adulthood
The ‘supporting care leavers in the transition to adulthood’ conference organised by Policy- UK took place in London on the 7th October 2017. The event was an opportunity to hear about the work undertaken around the UK with young people leaving care. A number of key messages came out of the presentations with talks from a variety of professionals representing a number of organisations including public services and the third sector.
Young people leaving care face a number of challenges when transitioning to adulthood. For example, the amount of support from social services is reduced significantly. This is further complicated as this is happening while young people are negotiating independence at a younger age then would be expected in the general population. Consequently, they often don’t have the social or financial capital to manage adequately. Legislation such as the Children and Social Work Act 2017 has extended the duty of local authorities to support young people leaving care up until their 25th birthday regardless of whether they are in education/training or not. Similarly, the Staying Put arrangements and the Wales ‘When I’m Ready’ scheme have demonstrated a commitment to prolonging the transition from leaving care by allowing young people to stay in their foster placements up until the age of 21.
Recommendations for further improvements were outlined during the event such as the need for a life-long commitment to those leaving care and more accountability at the ‘corporate parent’ specifically local authorities who have a duty to look after a child or young person as any ‘reasonable parent’ would be expected.
Gemma Allnatt, Research Officer for the School.