To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of funding available to young people leaving care announced in 2019 has been allocated to initiatives which provide dedicated support for girls and young women as a named group; and what steps he is taking to monitor and evaluate the effect of that funding on girls and young women leaving care and experiencing poor mental health.
In October 2019, during care leavers week, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced £19 million additional funding in financial year 2020-21 to support care leavers.
Of the additional funding, £10 million was allocated to local authorities to increase the resources available to them to implement Staying Put, which enables young people in foster care at age 18 to remain with their former foster carers until age 21. In total, £33 million will be allocated to local authorities to implement Staying Put this financial year.
Although Staying Close supports both young men and young women, some of the pilots are working with particular cohorts. For example, one of the pilots is supporting young women leaving a specialist children’s home that accommodates young women who have been victims of child sexual exploitation, and a number of Staying Close participants are young parents. As well as the core Staying Close offer, a number of pilots also provide access to specialist mental health services.
The final £3 million funding was to provide extra funding for Virtual School Heads to enable them to provide additional support to care leavers in further education. Again, this funding will support all care leavers in further education and is not targeted at young women specifically.