New support for young people leaving care

Ahead of National Care Leavers Week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has made £19 million available for programmes to improve support for care leavers.

The new funding includes £10 million to create stable homes for care leavers as they become adults, £6 million to support young people leaving care to live independently and £3 million to help care leavers go into further education.

Alongside this, Williamson has committed to delivering 1,000 internships for care leavers over the next two years to help secure long term, quality jobs for care leavers. This will include expanding the existing Civil Service Internship Scheme which has offered permanent jobs to 220 care leavers across Whitehall and working with other public sector bodies including the NHS, Ministry of Defence civilian roles, police and the fire service to support care leavers into new employment opportunities.

The funding adds to recent funding to help adoptive families build strong relationships and overcome past trauma, and practical support announced earlier this month for foster families in the form of short breaks, mentoring and social activities.

Williamson said: “Young people leaving care face enormous barriers in their lives as they move towards independence, from not having a trusted person in their life to rely on, to not having a safe home to return to at the end of the day.

“Housing, healthcare and education are three of the biggest obstacles they have to overcome. We all have a responsibility to do better for them – so I’m bringing together colleagues from across government to join me in transforming the support we offer care leavers in all of these key areas to make the biggest difference in their lives. This starts immediately, because we must raise the bar for these young people, to give them greater stability and a strong sense of purpose in adulthood.”