Care Leavers

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th January 2021.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department plans to provide to children leaving local authority care for the financial year 2020-21.

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

All local authority duties to care leavers will continue to be provided, including ensuring that a Personal Adviser is appointed to support them to make the transition from care to independence. Local authorities are also required to provide support to help care leavers to engage in education, employment, or training and to secure suitable accommodation, as set out in the Children Act and other legislation. In 2018, we extended support from a Personal Adviser to all care leavers, to age 25.

In addition to the support that local authorities provide, central Government has funded a range of measures, including in 2020/21, to improve care leavers’ outcomes, including:

  • extra funding for 47 local authorities to provide intensive support to care leavers who are most at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping;
  • commissioning three care leaver Social Impact Bonds, which support care leavers to secure sustainable education, employment and training;
  • established the Civil Service care leaver internship scheme, which this year offered over 250 paid internships for care leavers across Government;
  • established a Cross-Government Ministerial Board to drive better outcomes for care leavers; and have
  • launched the Care Leaver Covenant, which provides a way for organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors to show their commitment to care leavers through providing concrete offers of support.

In addition, we recognised that the lockdown period would be particularly challenging for care leavers as many of them live alone without families to support them emotionally or financially. In response we have:

  • asked local authorities not to move young people out of care during that time and provided discretionary finding to care leavers at risk of hardship;
  • prioritised care leavers to receive laptops and routers that we have distributed to local authorities;
  • provided extra funding to 3 care leaver charities – through the DCMS charities funding pot to enable them to keep in more regular contact with care leavers; and
  • introduced a number of wider measures across Government which will be of particular benefit to care leavers, including the £20 increase in Universal Credit.

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