Friday, July 17, 2015

Coram Voice response to National Audit Office report on care leavers

Linda Briheim-Crookall Senior Policy and Service Development Manager for Coram Voice, contributor to the report, said:

“Today’s report by the National Audit Office (NAO) Care leavers’ transition to adulthood highlights that the safety net in place for care leavers, whereby local authorities are legally required to offer support in education and accommodation, is failing to catch countless young people as they journey into independent living.

Through Coram Voice’s advocacy work with looked after children, we are acutely aware of the consequences of young people not receiving such critical support. Every day we encounter care leavers who do not have enough money to survive, a safe and suitable home or the help they need to access education and training to achieve their aspirations.

A significant number of the young people we support with advocacy have emotional difficulties which can be exacerbated by their precarious situation of leaving care unsupported. As NAO’s report highlights, government data currently collected on care leavers includes education, training and employment, and accommodation, yet no data collected includes important information on wellbeing. We believe this is serious omission and call on Government to include data on these outcomes as a matter of urgency.

As the report finds, the lack of a single repository for good practice in supporting care leavers is a further challenge which all those working with young care leavers face. Coram Voice’s response, our current Bright Spots project, aims to help local authorities improve the care journey for children. Included is a survey, ‘Your Life, Your Care’, which was informed by young people and which will measure the quality of their care experience and their sense of wellbeing.

We have run a successful pilot of the survey and now want to get more local authorities on board to be able to demonstrate its potential. Young people in care and leaving care rely on government to parent them as they are without the family support networks so many of us take for granted. We must do all we can to help ensure that they are not let down.”

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