£50 million for councils to support care leavers

New funding has been introduced to extend support to care leavers and proposals have been launched to introduce national standards in unregulated accommodation.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that £51 million support package will fund a range of schemes to support those that are either in or leaving care, as well as proposals to introduce national standards that accommodation settings for 16- and 17-year-olds would have to meet.

These programmes include £33 million continued investment in ‘Staying Put’, which helps looked after children stay with their foster carers after their 18th birthday if they wish to, as well as £3.6 million to extend the ‘Staying Close’ pilot which gives extra support for young people leaving residential care, and £12m for councils to continue to provide Personal Advisors to support care leavers up to the age of 25.

An additional £2.7 million will be made available to provide intensive support to care leavers at high risk of homelessness, as part of the government’s Rough Sleeping strategy.

A consultation has also been proposing national standards that all unregulated settings accommodating 16- and 17-year-old children in and leaving care would have to meet, to boost quality and ensure consistency of provision across the country.

Williamson said: “Every young person in care deserves to live in accommodation that meets their needs and keeps them safe – anything less is unacceptable, and so continuing to prioritise children in care or leaving care is absolutely vital. The measures being announced today build on our shared ambition across government to level up outcomes and opportunities for everyone, but especially the most vulnerable – by providing safer homes, reducing isolation among young people leaving care, and by making sure they have a strong support network to rely on as they take steps into adult life.”

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