There’s a 33% increase in care-leaver homelessness* Its time to improve policies to support care leavers.
Become Charity, an outstanding organisation supporting children and young people in care and as they leave care has published their response to the Government figures on homelessness between 2022-23. A 33% increase in care experienced young people suffering homelessness or threatening so, is a staggering failure in our ability to safeguard the most vulnerable in our society.
As a developed nation, this is a catastrophic figure that demonstrates just how easy it is for young people to fall through the gaping chasm between care and independence. These figures will not fully encompass the issues either, as a single year in the life of a care leaver will never communicate the impacts instability has on young people thrust into independence.
Instability is a breeding ground for exploitation and manipulation. Without an adequate safety net, which many care leavers are without, the risk of poor mental health, incarceration and poverty are magnified. The ability for them to seek help is diminished and a vicious cycle is undoubtably put in motion.
Traumatised adults setting the precedent for the next generation, yet to be provided an adequate model of care that ensures care is provided until the young person needs it.
We believe in better outcomes for young people. This is why our ambitions aren’t to match huge IFAs, its the contrary. The quality of our service is dictated by our close working relationships with foster carers and our foster children. Personalised support and understanding the individual needs of the children from the CEO to Administrators creates an environment tailored to young people and the people who support them.
We strive for low turnover of staff so a friendly, familiar face is always on hand and we stick by our founding philosophy – A family is for life.
It doesn’t matter if a young person is associated with the trust for 6 weeks, 6 years or 16 years. We will always be available to support the people we’ve worked with.
More can be done to ensure these young people have what they need to succeed post care.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become, says:
“This data is depressing but sadly not surprising. Each year, thousands of 18-year-olds face a care cliff where important support and relationships disappear and they are expected to leave care and become independent overnight, often well before they feel ready. Being pushed into adulthood without the right support in place puts young people at risk. Trying to access safe and suitable housing, manage bills and the cost-of-living crisis, whilst also continuing their education or starting work without a safety net to fall back on is a huge struggle.
It’s a scandal that our care system is leaving young people at risk of homelessness, but this can be fixed. We want to see an end to the care cliff so that all young people have a positive start to adulthood and make the move into independence when the time is right for them.”
Become is calling on the government to #EndTheCareCliff so that no young person needs to leave care before they’re ready. That means:
- Enabling young people to stay in their homes or connected to support by fully funding and making the Staying Put and Staying Close schemes an opt out legal entitlement for all care-experienced young people up to 25
- Providing proper housing support including the introduction of consistent guarantor and tenancy deposit schemes to remove barriers for care leavers taking up private-rented tenancies.
- Amend homelessness legislation to:
- extend automatic ‘priority need’ to all care leavers up to the age of 25, regardless of vulnerability;
- exempt care leavers, up to the age of 25, from homelessness intentionality rules so they don’t miss out on support into long-term accommodation
- require local authorities to remove the local area connection test for all care leavers up to the age of 25
If you want to be part of making a difference, and supporting young people into independence – An enquiry is no committment
Get in touch today.