Leaving care is a cliff age. When young people reach a certain age or status, overnight their support can disappear, leaving them to navigate complex and tricky systems to gain support and access to crucial services, such as education and housing. All children are classed as ‘adults’ and will have left care by 18; many leave well before this. We see a huge number of young people from care becoming homeless, not attending education, unemployed and having higher levels of mental health issues than their peers. These are the young people we know about; many young people just disappear. Leaders are frustrated at the lack of provision; practitioners worry, and young people are invisible. Young people deserve to lead successful independent lives with relationships that last a lifetime.
Leaving home, whether for university, a new job, getting married can be a scary but exciting journey. Most of us leave home with supportive families and people we can return home to: for young people leaving care this isn’t the case.
For young people leaving care, reaching an age where their legal care status changes, the transition to adulthood can be sudden and overwhelming, meaning overnight they go from having support to having nothing. Too often this leaves them without the skills to navigate challenges such as housing, applying for jobs and education and often they disappear off the radar of children’s social care.
We understand the impact of this; it is reflected in the increasing number of homeless young people who have experienced care, high levels of unemployment, mental health issues and low numbers in further and higher education. These are the statistics for the children we know about: many care leavers are unknown to us.
We are left wondering what happened to the young people we worked with when they ‘left care’, often forgetting that they didn’t really leave: care left them.
This session explores the real life experiences of young people leaving care. Drawing on lived experience, we explore what we can do to support young people to leave care and have meaningful and independent lives.
We will learn about rights for children leaving care, recognise that you can maintain relationships and understand that you have a significant impact on the future for care leavers.
Expect to be inspired and equipped with the skills to effectively support young people leaving care.
- How to effectively support a young person who leaves care
- The impact of care on a young person’s development
- How to access children’s rights and entitlements when they leave care
- An overview of leaving care as a legal framework
- How to make sure your messages are remembered
- Preparing young people to leave care
- Positive stories about leaving care