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New research suggests care leavers felt they left care too early

Ofsted report suggests more than a third of care leavers felt that they were not ready to leave care when they did.

The study, an online survey of children in care (aged 16 to 17) and care leavers (no age limit), found that care leavers thought their move out of care happened abruptly and they were not ready for all the sudden changes. Of those who did feel that they left care at the right time, not all felt they had the required skills to live more independently. Many care leavers told us that they were not taught essential skills, such as how to shop, cook or manage money.

Many care leavers felt ‘alone’ or ‘isolated’ when they left care and did not know where to get help with their mental health or emotional well-being. Many care leavers had no one they could talk to about how they were feeling or who would look out for them. A third of care leavers reported that they did not know where to get help and support. For many, no plans had been made to support their mental health or emotional well-being when they left care.

Ofsted’s national director for social care, Yvette Stanley said: “The transition out of care can be a daunting prospect for many. It’s so important that children feel prepared with the skills they need to live independently and a support network there to help them if they need it. Unfortunately, many of the young people we spoke to felt they left care before they were ready and didn’t know where to turn to for help.

“The insights these young people have shared with us strike a powerful chord and are valuable in identifying how things can be improved for care leavers.”

Read the full report here