Every week, we highlight inspiration and innovation from local government worldwide. In this article, we focus on those who are supporting those who have experience of being in care. You’ll find best practice from England, Scotland and Australia, along with plenty of practical policy and resources to for more insight and guidance on the topic.
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Policy innovation and inspiration examples from the local government sector
England: Personalised support for young people leaving care
The City of York has launched new efforts to support young people leaving care. The council’s approach includes developing a pathway plan for each young person, providing a personal adviser, and offering life skills training. The council also offers a range of accommodation options, from trainer flats to supported lodgings, and focuses on helping care leavers build independence gradually. This approach has led to a high success rate of care leavers living independently in suitable accommodation. Care leavers have expressed satisfaction with the support they received, highlighting the council’s efforts to listen to their views and act upon them.
City of York Council
Australia: South Australian reforms to better help care experienced people
The South Australian Government is in the process of reforming its support services for young people transitioning out of care. The government’s proposed changes include establishing a new independent statutory authority to oversee the system, providing more support to young people up to the age of 21, and enhancing the quality of residential care. The government aims to ensure that young people leaving care have access to stable and supportive housing, education, employment, and health services. The reform is based on extensive consultation with stakeholders and is expected to be rolled out over the next few years, starting with the establishment of the new authority.
South Australian Government
Scotland: Aberdeen celebrates successes of care experienced youth
Last September, Aberdeen City Council celebrated its sixth annual Celebrating Success event, commemorating care experienced young people at the Town House. The event celebrates the success of young people who have moved onto further education, employment, training or continue to build their life skills. In addition, the event celebrates the sporting achievements, creativity in the arts, volunteer work, additional qualifications, and other life accomplishments of people who have grown up in the care system. The events is also live streamed to allow people currently cared for by the city council to take part in the celebrations.
Aberdeen City Council
England: Five local authorities launch integrated care intervention scheme
Rochdale, Redcar & Cleveland, Warrington, Norfolk, and Leicester councils are partaking in a scheme to help adolescents in or on the edge of care. The No Wrong Door scheme combines a defined culture with a range of services, accommodation, support options and specialists. It aims to reduce the number of people entering care while helping those in care to find permanence in a family setting, be it through long-term foster care, family reunification or independence. The NWD operates from two hubs in North Yorkshire, working with about 40 young people at any one time. The scheme has previously seen success in reducing the number of people entering the care system, the amount of time spent in care, and high-risk behaviours and criminal activity, while increasing the amount of people remaining in or entering education, employment or training.
Scie / What Works for Children’s Social Care
Resources to help build more resilient communities
A comparison of state support for young people leaving care in Norway and Sweden: Differences within comparable welfare systems
This report compares the support systems for young people leaving care in Norway and Sweden. The study finds that Norway has a more comprehensive and generous support system, offering longer-term housing, education, and financial support. In contrast, Sweden’s system is more decentralized, with local government having more autonomy in determining support. The report suggests that Sweden could learn from Norway’s approach to provide better support for young people transitioning out of care.
What helps young care leavers to enter the world of work? Possible lessons learned from an exploratory study in Ireland and Catalonia
The educational and employment outcomes of care-experienced young people in Ireland and Catalonia are examined in this report. To help address the significant barriers to education and employment compared to their peers care experienced young people face, the researchers recommend policy changes including the provision of tailored support, increasing awareness among employers, and improving coordination between services.
Care leavers in early adulthood: How do they fare in England, Finland and Germany?
This report highlights the post-school transitions of care-experienced young people in the Finland, Germany and the UK, underscoring issues including inadequate support, poor educational attainment, and limited access to stable housing. It suggests that social workers need to be better equipped to support care leavers during this critical transition period across the three countries, and calls for improved collaboration between social workers and education providers. The report also emphasises the importance of establishing a stable base for care leavers as they transition into adulthood.
Young People Leaving Care — A Four Nations Perspective
This study highlights the need to understand the differences in care leaver policy across the UK nations, considering variations in cohort size, legal definitions, and data comparability. Governments seek improvements in outcomes for care leavers, but their priorities vary, such as England focusing on education and employment, and Wales prioritising educational outcomes. Linking variations in outcomes to policy interventions is challenging due to implementation lag and other factors. To assess the impact of different legislative and policy frameworks on care leaver outcomes, it’s essential to consider the perspectives of care experienced young people and those working with them.
Passports out of poverty: Raising access to higher education for care leavers in Australia
This study explores the impact of poverty and trauma on care leavers’ access to higher education in Australia. Findings revealed that poverty, learning deficits, and limited institutional support hinder care leavers’ transition to higher education. The authors recommend financial support beyond age 18, study bursaries, fee remission, and accommodation support to address poverty and promote access to university. They also suggest cultural change to address the consequences of poverty, such as low educational expectations
Care Experience, Ethnicity and Youth Justice Involvement: Key Trends and Policy Implications
This Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education study reveals that 33% of care-experienced children have received a youth caution or conviction in the UK, compared to just 4% of non-care experienced youth.
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