Care Leavers: Digital Technology

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many care leavers have benefited from the Government’s scheme to provide care leavers with access to technology and data.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of care leavers aged 18 to 21 who do not have access to internet-enabled technology.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department has delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to children and young people, as part of a £100 million investment to support remote education for disadvantaged students and to allow children with a social worker and care leavers to access support and services online. This includes over 148,000 devices for children with a social worker and care leavers.

Guidance to local authorities identified care leavers as one of three priority groups for receipt of the laptops and routers. Local authorities are responsible for the distribution of devices, as they are best placed to identify which young people need one. The guidance is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-provided-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The department does not collect data on the number of care leavers who do not have internet access. However, research published by Coram Voice in 2019 identified that 80% of care leavers had internet access at home, compared to 91% of young people aged 16-24 in the general population. A summary of the report is available here:

https://coramvoice.org.uk/sites/default/files/cv-olbc-snapshot-a2-poster_1.4.19.pdf.

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