The report from Access All Areas, a coalition of leading youth charities, shows that care leavers want support up to the age of 25, whether or not they are in education or training, and also more support for those in prison.
Findings also show that care leavers are calling for better housing, and employment training and financial support.Care leavers and Access All Areas are now calling on the Westminster Government to review care leavers policies and to commit to improving the lives and opportunities available for young people leaving care.
Access All Areas is a coalition of leading youth charities including Barnardo’s, The Care Leavers Association, The Prince’s Trust and The Who Cares? Trust. The coalition gives young people a voice to let the government know what they want to Keep, Kick or Change, about leaving care in the new Parliament.
Together, the charities are calling on the Westminster Government to listen to the messages direct from care leavers, making sure that they have the best opportunities as they enter adult life.
Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s said: “Young people who’ve left care and are taking their first steps into adult life have sent a clear message to the Government: they want more help, and for longer. The Government must now listen to these young people, putting their needs at the heart of policies. They can start by making sure that each care leaver’s personal adviser can continue giving them lifeline housing, jobs, training and money advice up until they’re 25 years old.”
Lindsay Owen, deputy director of policy and evaluation at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Findings from The Prince’s Trust’s ‘From Care to Independence’ research show that care leavers are not getting all the support they need from statutory services. It is therefore crucial that the government continues to build on the positive work of the Care Leaver’s Strategy and ensures that care leavers receive the help they require.”
Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of The Who Cares? Trust, said: “The young people who took part in Access All Areas had a clear message for policymakers: more needs to be done, now, to support thousands of care leavers as they journey into adulthood. Findings from the National Audit Office report published in July only serve to emphasise the urgent need for leadership from central and local government to improve the life chances of the children and young people in their care.”
David Graham, National Director of The Care Leavers’ Association, said: “The government needs to improve the system so that care leavers can get the exact support they need when they need it – and not base the support on age related criteria”.