Dont have an account?Sign up here
National Care Leavers’ Week: 24 - 30 October 2013: A Care Leavers’ Foundation Initiative
National Care Leavers’ Week 2013 – ‘The First Decade’ focuses on the journey of a care leaver from leaving care to becoming firmly established in their adult lives.
Why we should care about care leavers
It’s tough being a young person leaving care. Not only have you had a pretty difficult childhood and teenage years, you suddenly find yourself thrown into adult and independent life without the emotional and financial support that most young people are lucky enough to get from their families.
In the eleven years that we have marked National Care Leavers’ Week we have seen real improvements – including better support for care leavers to get into employment and training. But there is much, much more that needs to be done.
National Care Leavers’ Week
National Care Leavers’ Week is about highlighting the needs of these young people, and encouraging the agencies responsible for looking after them to work in a coordinated and effective way.
The week is also about focusing the minds of politicians on the lack of support for these uniquely vulnerable individuals. It’s easy to brush them and their problems under the carpet - we are determined not to let that happen.
Who we are
Established in 2002 by independent charity the Care Leavers’ Foundation, Care Leavers’ Week brings together all the major charities working with care leavers, including A National Voice, The Care Leavers' Association, the National Care Advisory Service, Catch 22, Voices from Care, and Voice.
Find out more about Care Leavers’ Week
We are currently working up this year’s programme of events. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved.
Issues affecting care leavers:
Children and young people taken into care have, by definition, had difficult – if not neglectful or abusive – early home lives. That can be compounded by instability in care placements, and then the challenge finding yourself living on your own at an early age. Most young people leave care while they are still aged under 18 – around ten years younger than most people leave home in this country.
A lot of care leavers, despite their premature move into independence, are resilient and determined. They can overcome their difficult start and begin to build much more solid foundations for their adult lives - particularly as they come towards their mid or late twenties.
But some do struggle. Care leavers can find it difficult to get into adequate housing, higher education and jobs. And because many have been moved away from where they once lived, they often lack supportive local networks of friends, family and neighbours. Many care leavers experience poverty, homelessness, mental health difficulties and chronic unemployment, as well as drug and alcohol misuse.
If the Government and other public service providers are serious about ensuring care leavers get the start in life they deserve, we need to see a real shift in emphasis. They need to move away from a focus solely on the point at which a young person leaves care, to a much greater awareness that this vulnerable group will need support well into their first decade of adult life.