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More help and support for children leaving care

Young people leaving care will be offered improved support under a new government pledge. The Care Leaver Strategy should stop “patchy services”, children’s minister Edward Timpson said.

The strategy includes the DWP introducing a care leaver ‘marker’, so employment support can be better tracked; the DH improving guidance to promote the health and wellbeing of children in care; better training of children’s home staff to support young people into finding housing once they have left; and encouraging all local authorities to pay at least £2,000 to young people leaving care.

Those who need help managing money will also be able to access personalised budgeting support. 34% of care leavers aged 19 or over are currently NEET.

Timpson said: “Although most children leave care having had positive experiences, it’s simply not acceptable that they end up with significantly worse exam results; are more likely to have poorer mental and physical health; or be unemployed or out of education altogether. That makes quality of support – and consistency of support – absolutely essential. They deserve nothing less. If care leavers get patchy services, they are more likely to slip through the cracks.

“We want care leavers to enter adult life with the same opportunities and life chances as their friends. If someone needs a helping hand to get into work, to find a college place or to access the right employment services, it shouldn’t matter which part of government provides it.”

Employment minister Esther McVey said: “Young people leaving care don’t always have the same support structures in place as other young people, which can mean they miss out on help to move into the world of work.

“Everyone deserves the chance to get on in life – that’s why this cross-government approach is so vital as it will enable us to ensure care-leavers get the help and support they need to find a job, build a career and fulfil their potential.”

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