Care leaver initiative only funding one in five

The Local Government Association has expressed concern over an initiative for children leaving care only having enough funding to support one in five young people.

Amounting to approximately 4,700 young people out of a total of more than 23,000, the government has allocated around £12 million for councils to provide personal advisers, but councils are warning that this isn’t near the required amount.

From 1 April, councils will have a new duty to provide eligible care leavers aged 21 to 25 with a personal adviser, ensuring they receive the practical and emotional support they need to make a successful transition to adulthood. However, no extra funding has been provided for councils to offer any of the follow-up support that a young person leaving care might need. This means councils might be forced to find the money by cutting provision elsewhere.

Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This is a potentially life-changing initiative that could make a real difference to young people’s lives. Personal advisers can play a major role in supporting care leavers as they move towards independence and we were fully supportive of the decision to extend this to all care leavers up the age of 25.

“However we are disappointed that the government will only provide funding for just 20 per cent of eligible care leavers. While not every care leaver will need the support, we expect the number to be much higher than what the government has anticipated. This is further compounded by the fact that councils will receive no extra money to provide any of the essential follow-up support a young person might need, whether it’s travel or food or even a roof over their heads. It is essential that this is funded properly by government if we are to help improve young people’s lives and give them the best start in adulthood.”