The Welsh government today launched a pilot scheme that will see care leavers receive £1,600 per month to support their transition into adult life.
The £20m Basic Income pilot, which will run for three years, aims to provide vulnerable care leavers with independence and security as they enter adulthood.
Launched by First Minister Mark Drakeford, the scheme will see more than 500 people leaving care in Wales offered £1600 each month (before tax) for two years. The pilot will be evaluated to assess its effect on the lives of those involved.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘We want all our young people to have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their full potential. The state is the guardian of people leaving care and so has a real obligation to support them as they start their adult life.
‘Our focus will be on opening up their world to all its possibilities and create an independence from services as their lives develop.
‘Many of those involved in this pilot don’t have the support lots of people – myself included - have been lucky enough to enjoy as we started out on our path to adulthood.
‘Our radical initiative will not only improve the lives of those taking part in the pilot, but will reap rewards for the rest of Welsh society. If we succeed in what we are attempting today this will be just the first step in what could be a journey that benefits generations to come.’
Those taking part in the pilot will receive advice and support to help them manage their finances and develop their financial and budgeting skills.
Local authorities will play a key role in supporting them throughout the pilot, according to the Welsh government. Voices from Care Cymru will also work with the young people to give them advice on wellbeing, education, employment and help them plan their future after the pilot.
Tiff Evans of Voices from Care Cymru, speaking on behalf of young people who have experienced care, commented: ‘This is a brilliant opportunity for care leavers in Wales. It is good to see that care leavers in Wales are being thought of and Welsh government are providing this opportunity for them as young people to become responsible, control some parts of their lives and have a chance to thrive and be financially independent.
‘We thank Welsh government for investing in them and their future and we look forward to other changes and developments for care experienced young people in Wales in order for them to reach life aspirations.’