The Care Leavers Association welcomes the Education Select Committee report on care options for 16-17 year olds. The report calls for ·
- The DfE to ensure that looked after young people approaching independence are fully and effectively informed of their rights and entitlements and given a genuine choice of accommodation.
- Local authorities to report to the DfE on their use of B&B accommodation for looked after young people.
- Leaving care services to be extended to the age of 25, without exception.
- A duty upon local authorities to ensure that a young person’s transition out of care is also postponed until after the end of an academic year following a given birthday.
- Staying Put to be extended to residential care
- The DfE to examine models of supported living.
The Care Leavers Association has consistently called for a shake-up of the current leaving care system. More emphasis needs to be put on creating tailored responses that actually meet the needs of young people so that they can live independently.
All care leavers 16 plus need to have access to leaving care support. The support must help them to grow as individuals whilst providing solutions to problems. All care leavers up to the age of 25 should have the right to return to supported living if independence goes wrong. We need more innovative solutions to make this work effectively and economically. The CLA would welcome more evaluation into “community hub” based independent living schemes, where care leavers of different ages are able to support each other.
This report is far reaching but we need to see action on the ground sooner rather than later.