The Care Leaver Covenant is a promise made by private, public or voluntary organisations to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them to live independently.
In July 2016, the Government published ‘Keep on Caring’ to support young people from care to independence. A key policy commitment in the paper is a strategic pledge to introduce a Care Leaver Covenant.
There are some 70,000 children in care in England, a majority of the children (75%) are
fostered and the rest are in residential care.
- 14% of children in care in 2016 achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*-C compared to 58% of children not in care
- 40% of all care leavers of 19, 20 and 21 years of age (in 2016) were not in employment, education or training compared to 14% of all 19, 20 and 21 year olds
- The percentage of children in care gaining entry to university is 7% and this figure has not been improved since 2006; compared to the university entry in 2016 of around 40% of their peer group
- 20% of young homeless people have been previously in care
- Children in care are four times more likely to have a mental health difficulty, which in many cases is attributed to isolation and loneliness.
Undoubtedly, a large proportion of young people leave their care setting poorly prepared for independence. Typically, they lack the appropriate resource to acquire and hold down gainful employment as well as the skills needed to manage their financial affairs and domestic arrangements. They frequently do not have the social and emotional confidence or the family and friend networks that
would provide the confidence and resilience to face the challenges of earning a living and making their way in society.
The aim of the Care Leaver Covenant, to which organisations commit, is to provide additional support for those leaving care; making available a different type of support and expertise from that statutorily provided by local authorities. Drawing on the resourcefulness and imagination of their staff and their working environment, organisations have the potential to offer new perspectives and professional expertise. These can offer opportunities and a new way of thinking to aid the care leavers in moving
forward successfully to the next phase of their lives.
Each organisation that commits to the Care Leaver Covenant will be able to offer a support package to care leavers that is tailored to its specific expertise. The organisation would underpin its commitment to the Covenant with a specific ‘offer’, setting out what it can provide. Examples of the sort of activities that the offer might include, depending on the nature of the organisation, are:
- Providing care leavers with opportunities to enter the world of work, such as offering work experience placements, work shadowing placements, internships, traineeships and apprenticeships;
- Providing care leavers with additional support. For example, one-to-one mentoring or pastoral support and guidance on various aspects of their lives, financial guidance, career/employment guidance, educational prospects and opportunities;
- Providing care leavers with opportunities to broaden their horizons e.g. concessionary access to sport, leisure and cultural activities along with discounted retail offers;
- Encouraging their involvement in specific activities and events which inspire their personal interest and widen their employment prospects;
- Providing or supporting them in educational and training opportunities that will improve their
vocational and educational profile and open up future employment opportunities.
For more information please visit – https://mycovenant.org.uk/about/