The Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi MP was among the speakers at Coram Voice’s Bright Spots event on 1 April which focused on our first study of care leavers’ wellbeing ‘Our Lives Beyond Care’.
The discussion event coincided with the launch of the findings of the study which found that young people leaving care are seven times more likely to have low life satisfaction than their peers, and one in five feel lonely always or most of the time. In addition, a fifth find it difficult to cope financially.
The Minister outlined the government’s commitments to improving outcomes for care leavers including £90m in funding to local authorities to implement ‘Staying Put’ so far, and a further £23.77m to be provided in 2019/20, a pilot of ‘Staying Close’ which provides an accommodation offer alongside an enhanced offer of practical and emotional support for those leaving residential care, and the launch of the care leaver covenant, which encourages organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors to make offers of practical support such as internships, apprenticeships or work experience. He also highlighted the introduction in August 2018 of a £1,000 bursary for care leavers starting an apprenticeship, to improve care leavers’ financial stability.
The Minister said: “It is incumbent on us all to ensure care leavers get the best support possible, so that leaving care feels less like a ‘cliff edge’. I want to thank Coram Voice for undertaking this valuable research, I do hope more local authorities will join the programme next year.”
Other speakers at the event included Professor Emily Munro, Director of the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care at the University of Bedfordshire and Matthew Brazier, Ofsted’s Specialist Adviser for Looked After Children. Guests also heard from local authorities who have delivered the Bright Spots programme so far, and care leavers who shared their personal experiences.
Read the full findings of the Our Lives Beyond Care study here.