The Leaving Care Act has two main aims:
1. To ensure that young people do not leave care until they are ready
2. To ensure that they receive more effective support once they have left
Let’s just stop for a moment and not think about young people who have been through the care system and think more generally about young people full stop.
How does this growing up and becoming independent business work for everyone else?
I’d like you to think for a moment about the following things:
How old were you when you left home?
Who decided you were ready to leave home?
If you have children, how old were they when they left home?
After you left home, did you ever return? For weekends? Holidays? Times when you were in trouble? Have your children done the same?
Did your parents help you out with your own children or do you help out with grandchildren perhaps? Do they come to stay with you?
If your child was in financial trouble after leaving home, how would you help them?
Do you know anyone who has been ill or perhaps broken a limb and returned to their parents’ house for a period of time? Perhaps you know people who have stayed with family whilst they are between homes?
I know lots of people who have been in all of these situations. I left home to go to university at the age of 18, but my parents financially supported me until I left education at the age of 22. They emigrated whilst I was at university so I never had anywhere to go ‘home’ to as such after that, but I know many people who still do that in their 30s and 40s, and those who rely heavily on their parents for a range of things including advice; financial support; childcare; a holiday; a home from home; respite and so on.
How about you? What is your experience?
This brings me on to question if we are doing enough for young people leaving the care system? What does the concept of ‘keeping in touch’ really mean? It certainly doesn’t mean lots of the things that others rely on their parents for.
Local Authorities have a duty to keep in touch with young people until the age of 21, 24 or 25 if the young person remains in education. The key areas of focus include advice and support around education and training or employment; general advice, support and assistance. There are numerous aspects of financial support available for higher education, passports, living expenses and so on and depending on the area, there may be on-going mentoring or other services available.
Is it enough?
How do you think you would have coped in that situation? What about your children? Would it be enough for them?
With funding cuts, pressures on time and resources there may not be more we can give in terms of physical things or finances BUT is there something different we could do? How can we give young people leaving care the things that money can’t buy – the unconditional love and support many of us have had from our families?
If you think you have what it takes to effectively support those preparing to leave the care system, contact Vetro recruitment for job opportunities.