Professional Zone

Always Heard – Supporting Care Leavers to speak out

Posted date: 
29 Oct 18

Leaving care can be exciting time but becoming a young adult is not always easy, particularly if you have had a difficult time growing up. Being a care leaver can feel overwhelming with big decisions to be made about education and work, and where you are going to live. Many care leavers get great support from Children’s Services but many others feel they need independent advice and support.

That’s where independent advocates can help. Advocates can support care leavers with information about their entitlements as well as supporting them to speak out about the support they get from Children’s Services.

 How Always Heard helps

Over the last year Coram Voice’s Always Heard service has assisted over 5,000 young people to access the advocacy support they need. But sometimes care leavers can’t access the advocacy support they are entitled to from their local authority and that’s where the Always Heard team steps in. We know that in at least 19% of local authorities in England care leavers have limited or no access to advocacy support.

Care leavers are entitled to independent advocacy and that’s why Always Heard guarantees that any care leaver who contacts us and needs advocacy support gets it!

Lisa*, a 21 year old care leaver contacted Always Heard to say that she was deep in debt, had no money for food or travel to college and was at risk of being made homeless. Lisa had been trying to reach her local advocacy service for four days but with no response to her messages. We managed to reach her local advocacy service but they said that they only had one advocate who was on a two week holiday. Because Lisa’s issues were urgent we provided safety net advocacy to obtain the support she needed from her Leaving Care team. This resulted in Lisa being provided with emergency funds to buy food and attend college, and support to manage her debts and stabilise her housing situation.

If you are a care leaver who needs information about your rights or the support of an independent advocate you can contact Always Heard free on:

 

*Names have been changed