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Manchester given green light for council-owned company to support care leavers

Care leavers in Manchester will be given support and guidance under a new scheme approved by the council.

A new company, wholly owned and operated by Manchester City Council, will be established to support care leavers. The city will be the first in the country to adopt this new approach.

Local authorities now have a duty to provide support to all care leavers who want it up to the age of 25, including assessing their ongoing needs and ensuring that all your people have access to a personal advisor.

In 2016 the national Care Leavers Strategy introduced gave key outcomes that every local authority should achieve for all young people leaving care, including them being better prepared to live independently; improved access to education, employment and training; stability in their lives; improved access to health support; and financial stability.

Since 1995, Manchester council’s leaving care service has been delivered by a third party organisation, but the current contract is due to expire in September this year.

At the heart of the new company will be the young people themselves, the council has said, with a young care leader being appointed to the board of the company on the same terms as other board members to represent the voice of young people and ensure the views and experiences of young people remain at the company’s heart.

Cllr Carry Bridges, executive member for children’s services at Manchester City Council, explained: “The vast majority of our young people are lucky enough to have the support of their families behind them, looking out for them and pushing them on to future success.

“For care-leavers however things can be very different and we’re determined to change this.”

However, the council is currently responsible for 750 care leavers, with an estimated 250 additional young people aged between 21 and 25 years old who are entitled to support.

Bridges added: “Our ambition is to give them the right help at the time they need it – wrapping as much care and support as they need around them so they thrive and succeed in all aspects of their lives.

“Creating a new wholly owned company to do this, with the voice of young people at its heart, gives us an exciting opportunity to create a bespoke service for care-leavers that does just that.”

The council hopes that the company will be up and running in around six months time.

Top image: Azman


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