Call for government to provide 'lifetime support' for children in care

By Neil Puffett

| 04 October 2019

People who have been taken into care as a child should receive ongoing support to help them deal with the impact of their experiences, a report has recommended.

Government has been asked to recognise in policy that the care experience is a "continuous lifetime process". Picture: luxorphoto/Adobe Stock

A summary report of the first Care Experienced Conference, held in April to bring together people with experience of the care system and better understand the challenges they face, concluded that there is a lack of help available when statutory support ends at the age of 25.

"Despite the significant life challenges care experienced people face, governments have yet to recognise, consult and engage directly with these experts with lived experience, or seek to better understand their challenges in life after the age of 25," the report states.

"It is a shared belief across all involved that the care experience is a continuous lifetime experience bringing different needs at different stages that may not accord with the statutory definition of care and leaving care, or the way care experienced people are represented in society, the media and statistics.

"We call on organisations, charities, society and government to review this document and the additional new evidence base from the lived experts in order to bring about improved services, dialogue and support for this group."

The report calls for government to recognise in policy that the care experience is a "continuous lifetime process" and does not simply cease at 16, 18 or 25 years of age.

It also recommends that government recognise in policy that many care experienced people enter higher education later in life as a result of their childhood experiences, and should have access to financial support after the age of 25 to allow them to complete their education.

It goes on to call for the lifetime mental health and emotional wellbeing needs of care experienced people of all ages to be specifically addressed as a single issue, and for the quality and transparency of case recording to be improved.

"Support should be available for care experienced people to access and explore these records recognising that they form a significant part of the personal history and identity for care experienced people," the report states.

In October 2018, the government launched a Care Leaver Covenant which asked businesses to sign up and create 10,000 work placements, internships or training sessions for young care leavers.

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