CONFERENCE MOTION PASSED Supporting Children in Care
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
There are almost one hundred thousand children in care in the UK and they face significant disadvantages in life.
The average child in care enters care at age 14, which is a crucial point academically. Only 12% of care leavers have entered higher education by the age of 23 and many care leavers rely on Universal Credit as their main source of income.
Too often children in care 'pinball around the system' meaning they don't have the opportunity to build strong support networks. Care leavers have sometimes lived in up to 20 foster placements or care homes. On leaving care, 1 in 4 young people have to sofa surf, and 4 in 10 are unable to pay the required deposit for housing.
This is simply unacceptable.
That's why at our conference today, members voted for new policy supporting children in care and care leavers:
- Increasing support for care leavers, so they all have access to support with advisors or mentors until age 25 including the option of remaining in care under full support of the local authority.
- Supporting children with more control of where they live whilst in care to limit the unsettling disruption of switching between foster homes.
- Doubling the Care Leaver Bursary from £1000 to £2000.
- Offering extra tutoring and mentoring from age 13 as children in care are far more likely to have had hugely disrupted and inconsistent schooling.
- Care leavers should be supported with access to university and given a mentor to help with university, apprenticeship and sixth form decisions.
All children and care leavers deserve far more support than is currently on offer.
The Government must introduce further measures to ensure that adverse circumstances early in life are not a barrier to reaching a young person's full potential.