Leading care leaver charity Drive Forward Foundation welcomes the government’s announcement that it will do more to protect care leavers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Martha Wansbrough, the founder of the Drive Forward Foundation, said:
‘Young people taken into the care system are some of the most vulnerable members of our society and so it is only right that we support them during a time of national crisis. We would like to thank the government for listening to our concerns by providing short-term, emergency support for care leavers during this pandemic.
‘The announcement that young people will not be forced to leave care at this time is crucial. One of the issues we see at our charity, time and time again, is that care leavers experience a great deal of instability in their lives. The added stress of placement moves during lockdown is not something that any young person leaving care should have to deal with at the moment.
‘The state acts as a “corporate parent” to children in care. This means that local authorities have a legal duty to act in their best interests and ensure they are properly prepared for living independently. This funding is a crucial step in that direction and we hope that it reaches the young people who need it.’
Last month, the Drive Forward Foundation wrote a letter to Gavin Williamson, alongside 15 other young people’s charities, asking that he work with local authorities to provide enhanced support to care leavers during this pandemic. Today, the Education Secretary delivered on that request by announcing that care leavers would receive laptops to ensure that they can stay connected with support services during lockdown. He also announced that no young person would be made to leave care during this time and that extra local authority funding was available to support care leavers.
Notes to editor:
- The Drive Forward Foundation is a leading care leaver charity that supports young people into employment, training and education. It also facilitates a national network of care-experienced campaigners in its ‘Policy Forum’.
- In March, Drive Forward Foundation wrote to Gavin Williamson along with 15 other organisations asking the government to put measures in place to protect care leavers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Suggested measures included increased virtual contact from Personal Advisers and extra support to third sector services working on the frontline with care leavers throughout the pandemic. You can read the letter here.
- There are currently over 75,000 children in the care system, a number that has been grown by more than 50 per cent over the last 25 years.
- The average care leaver aged between 16 and 21 receives £6,250 in support per year, according to 2015 research by the NAO.