Social Services: Young People

Department for Education written question – answered at on 15 September 2023.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support young adults transitioning from full-time social care into employment.

Photo of David Johnston David Johnston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government recognises that supporting young people to transition successfully from care to employment requires all government departments and relevant public bodies to play their part. This is why the care leaver Ministerial Board has been established, co-chaired by Department for Education and Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretaries of State, and including Ministers from 12 other departments, to consider what more can be done collectively to improve care leavers’ outcomes. In response to the independent review of children’s social care 'Stable Homes, Built on Love: strategy and consultation', the department has committed to legislate to extend corporate parenting responsibilities to government departments and other relevant public bodies, when Parliamentary time allows. The strategy is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/childrens-social-care-stable-homes-built-on-love.

In helping to increase the proportion of care leavers in education, employment and training, the department recently increased the apprenticeship bursary from £1,000 to £3,000. In addition, local authorities are required to provide a £2,000 bursary if the young person is studying in higher education. Care leavers are also a priority group for the 16-19 bursary (up to £1,200 per year) if studying in further education. The department is also committing £24 million between 2023/25 to expand the support provided by virtual school heads to care leavers in 16-19 education.

At present, over 400 businesses have signed the care leaver covenant and are offering employment opportunities to care leavers, including big employers such as John Lewis, Sky, Amazon and the NHS (which has pledged to offer up to 1,000 employment opportunities for care leavers over the next 3 years). Further to this, the Civil Service care leaver internship scheme will continue, which has led to nearly 1,000 care leavers taking up paid jobs across government since the scheme began.

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