The Government today announced a £51m funding boost to help councils support care leavers and have launched a consultation on improving the quality of housing for those leaving care.
The support package includes £33m continued investment in ‘Staying Put’, which helps looked after children stay with their foster carers after their 18th birthday.
It also includes £3.6m to extend the ‘Staying Close’ pilot which gives extra support for young people leaving residential care, and £12m for councils to continue to provide personal advisors to support care leavers up to the age of 25.
Around £2.7m will also be available to provide intensive support to care leavers at high risk of homelessness, as part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping strategy.
‘Every young person in care deserves to live in accommodation that meets their needs and keeps them safe – anything less is unacceptable, and so continuing to prioritise children in care or leaving care is absolutely vital,’ said education secretary Gavin Williamson.
‘The measures being announced today build on our shared ambition across Government to level up outcomes and opportunities for everyone, but especially the most vulnerable – by providing safer homes, reducing isolation among young people leaving care, and by making sure they have a strong support network to rely on as they take steps into adult life.’
Also launched today is a consultation, which will run until 19 July, proposing national standards that all unregulated settings accommodating 16- and 17-year-old children in and leaving care would have to meet.
‘Unregulated settings’ are independent or semi-independent settings offering supported accommodation which are not inspected by Ofsted. From September placing children under the age of 16 in unregulated accommodation will become illegal.
The consultation will consider the views of children in care, care leavers, councils and experts and leaders in the sector.