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Barnardo's signs up to new Care Leaver Covenant

Release Date: 26 Oct 2018

Barnardo’s has signed up to the new Care Leaver Covenant launched today (Friday 26 October) to highlight its commitment to creating more opportunities for young people leaving the care system.

By signing the Covenant, Barnardo’s promises to offer activities such as volunteering and work experience, including providing opportunities across our network of more than 700 high street shops.

In 2017-18, Barnardo’s supported 3,200 young people leaving the care system. This included access to appropriate accommodation, specialist mental health & wellbeing services, and help with employment training and skills. The UK’s oldest and largest children’s charity has been helping young people who couldn’t live with their birth families for 152 years, and this work remains a key priority under its ambitious 10 year strategy.

Young people leaving care are likely to have experienced early trauma, neglect or abuse. In England, the latest figures show they are far less likely to achieve positive outcomes than those who have not been in care. 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training (EET)*, compared to just 13% of all young people of the same age**.

The Covenant, unveiled by Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP, is a promise made by private, public and voluntary organisations to help care leavers aged 16-25 to transition successfully into adulthood. It will act as a ‘kite mark’ for organisations wanting to promote their offer to this group of young people.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

Sadly young people leaving care often struggle to gain good qualifications and get their foot on the career ladder.

That’s why Barnardo’s is committed to offering high quality work placements as well as specialist advice and support.

We believe that all young people deserve the opportunity to follow their dreams. That’s why our ambition is for care leavers to have the same life chances as other young people, including access to employment, education and training.

More than 40,000 children leave the care system each year. Most were taken into care as a result of abuse or neglect. When they reach adulthood, many care leavers are poorly prepared for independence, lacking the financial skills, emotional confidence or family network to form the self-reliance needed to make their way in life.

Some care leavers also face additional challenges. In 2017-18, 26% of care leavers supported by Barnardo’s reported having a disability. In addition, 26% of female care leavers and 11 per cent of male care leavers that we supported were young parents.

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