A coalition of charities focused on care issues has called on the government to support young people leaving care for longer.
The Care Leavers Coalition says the cut-off date for support should be raised from 21 to 25 for all care leavers. Government-funded personal advisers would help to improve the life chances of one of the most vulnerable groups in society, the charities claim.
Care leavers are four times more likely to have a mental disorder and around 40 per cent of those involved in the youth justice system have been in care.
A newly published YouGov survey conducted for Barnados examined when parents thought their children should become independent. Only five per cent of parents expected their children to have left home by the age of 18, while a decisive 64 per cent though they would be at least 22 before leaving. Twenty-seven per cent did not think their children would leave home before the age of 26.
Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said:
“Each child has something unique to offer our society and deserves an equal start in adult life. Children leaving care are often the most vulnerable young people in our society who need the most support. Unfortunately this support is often not available nor is it consistent across the country. Paradoxically only care leavers who are in education, employment or training get support until they are 25. Those who aren’t – and who arguably need it the most – do not. That is why we are calling for support for all care leavers to be raised to the same age.”