From education to employment

Overcoming the issues faced by care leavers during the coronavirus pandemic

@EducationGovUK factsheets outlining the support available for #CareLeavers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic published online by @CareLeaverCov 

Produced by the Department for Education (DfE), the downloadable fact sheets have been produced to specifically cover the issues and concerns care leavers will be facing at this time and provide further information about the support that is currently available.

There are around 70,000 young people in care in the UK and approximately 10,000 leave care each year, becoming care leavers. These young people are particularly vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Advice for care leavers during and after COVID-19 factsheet series focuses on eight key themes flagged as priority areas for care leavers. They cover advice and support for university students, expectant mothers, the self-employed and gig economy workers, people on Universal Credit, asylum-seeking children, as well as housing and mental health and well-being.

The factsheets can be downloaded on the Care Leaver Covenant website on a dedicated coronavirus support page.

Matthew Gordon, Chief Executive of Spectra, delivery partner of the Care Leaver Covenant, said:

“We know that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting us all in many ways. However, the impact of the pandemic can be particularly felt by those most vulnerable in our society, for example, those with zero-hours contracts, those with existing medical conditions or expectant parents.

“Whilst care leavers are a diverse group, representing many different lifestyles and living situations, it is the case that there is a lot of vulnerability within the care leaver community, for example relating to housing, employment, mental health challenges or unstable family relationships.”

Matthew explains that as the pandemic set in the government recognised the necessity of publishing a range of fact sheets for care leavers living through the Covid-19 period and is working with the Covenant to share the fact sheets far and wide within the care leaver community.

He added: “The government has been making a number of changes to the way it supports care leavers during this time. These fact sheets are designed to inform care leavers of provisions and resources available and across the eight different factsheets they cover a range of themes such as housing, mental and emotional health and job loss.”

Mark Riddell, DfE National Implementation Adviser for Care Leavers, said:

“These fact sheets provide a range of useful information which care leavers and those who support them will find of practical use and I am pleased that they are easy to access on the mycovenant website.”

As well as being available on the Covenant’s website, Twitter and Facebook channels the fact sheets are being shared with charity partners, local authorities and Covenant signatories to share with their care leaver network.

The Care Leaver Covenant, funded by the Department of Education, tackles the disadvantages that young people aged 16-25 face when leaving care and helps them to live independently.

Working with a range of organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors, who sign up to the Covenant, tangible opportunities for care leavers are created, including employment, education and training, safety and security, health, financial independence and independent living.

Care leaver facts and stats

  • There are around 70,000 young people in care in the UK. Roughly ¾ predominantly in foster care and ¼ in Local Authority residential care.
  • Around 10,000 leave care each year, becoming care leavers.
  • Around 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are NEET.
  • Only about 7% of care leavers begin university degrees.
  • Roughly 25% of the male and female prison population are care experienced.
  • Roughly 25% of the homeless population are care experienced.

The Care Leaver Covenant in action:

  • More than 200 organisations signed up to the Covenant, including Trowers & Hamlins, Barclays, Reed, Superdry, Amazon, ENGIE, PGL and Compass Group.
  • 1,000 plus opportunities created for care leavers.
  • 152 councils with Children Services departments to support the Covenant.

The Care Leaver Covenant, launched in October 2018, is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by Spectra, a social value agency based in Wolverhampton.

It was launched to tackle the disadvantages that young people leaving care face when they become independent adults. Around 10,000 young people leave care each year. Around 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are NEET; 25% of the prison population are experienced.

Organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors sign up to the Covenant and create practical, tangible offers and opportunities for care leavers relating to employment, education and training, safety and security, health, financial independence and independent living.

There are over 160 published offers on the Covenant’s bespoke app and website and more than 200 organisations have signed up to the Covenant. 

Covenant signatories that are deemed to go above and beyond in their outreach to the care leaver community are called Signatory Partners, they include Amazon UK & Ire, Compass Group UK & Ire, Engie, Lendlease, Metro Bank and Tuckers Solicitors.

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