Chair's statement on care leavers' transition to adulthood
17 July 2015
A statement from Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts:
"Many young people in care have had difficult lives and face challenging social problems on leaving care. The least these young people should expect after receiving local authority care is to feel supported as they start living independently.
It seems that some local authorities are turning their back on young people leaving their care, when two-thirds (64%) of local authority services for care leavers have been rated ‘inadequate' or ‘requiring improvement' since November 2013 and that only 8 out of 151 authorities know where all of their care leavers are living and whether they are participating in employment, education or training.
Young people leaving care have to start living independently much earlier than their peers. They don't have the family or support networks that many in society benefit from when leaving home. Care leavers are in dire need of effective care and support but this report finds care leavers who are not involved in their care leaving plans and who do not know what support they are entitled to.
It's surprising that the Department for Education is unable to explain why the average amount local authorities said they spent on each care leaver varied so wildly from £300 to £20,000 in 2013-14. Even more concerning is that no relationship is found between how much local authorities report they spend and the quality of the support given to care leavers.
Together with the impact on individuals, there are significant long term educational and employment costs when young people don't receive the right support on leaving care. As demand for care increases, it's critical that the Department for Education and local authorities work to improve services for care leavers."
- National Audit Office Report: Care leavers' transition to adulthood
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