Entitlement Inquiry highlights pressing issues for care leavers
Published: Tuesday 12th November 2013
Coram has welcomed a new report which finds that children in care and care leavers are not being supported to access vital entitlements and services
The report, which is published by The Who Cares? Trust, shows that a lack of consistent information and guidance has left hundreds of vulnerable young people without access to the support they are legally entitled to.
Coram, which operates a Housing and Support Service for care leavers submitted extensive evidence to the report, which includes the following key findings:
Only half of care leavers say they have a pathway plan, an essential resource which should set out all the support the local authority will provide for them as they start to live independently.
Over half of children in care and young care leavers aged 14 to 19 do not know about the £1,200 bursary which they are entitled to from 16 to 19 if they stay in education.
One third of care leavers are not aware their local authority must help them with costs of being in education or training, and fewer than half know their local authority has to help them with accommodation during the holidays if they go on to higher education. Care leavers who are unaware of this support are likely to be deterred from continuing in education.
Coram’s Head of Housing and Youth Support, Sharon Vickers, said that extremely vulnerable young people are paying the price of inconsistent and inadequate support services:
“There is a significant lack of clarity and consistency about young people’s financial, educational and accommodation entitlements.
“If the commitment to deliver what they are legally entitled to is not honoured, they are unable to remain in education or training, and denied the opportunity to build the skills they need for independent living, which is exactly what we should be trying to encourage them towards.
“Care leavers have experienced significant struggles in their lives, and need to be given the support and advice to move forward and live independently.
“As young people leave our housing service, we see them struggle again and again to access their setting up home allowance and to use it effectively.
“We need to see full transparency about rights and entitlements if young people are to stand on their own two feet.”