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Barnardo’s calls for better care for care leavers

Young people leaving care need more support to keep them safe.

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Barnardo’s has worked with Shelter Cymru on new guidelines due to be launched by Children’s Minister Carl Sargeant today and aimed at improving accommodation and support for vulnerable young people leaving care

Barnardo’s Cymru warns that young care leavers are more likely to live in poverty than their peers but says that safe, suitable housing can help them gain the education, employment and social opportunities they need to succeed in life.

Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said:

Most of us were lucky enough to have parents who helped us on our journey to becoming independent adults but sadly many young care leavers don’t have that support. For them leaving care can be a frightening and bewildering time.

Without the right support they can easily end up homeless, living in poverty and with health and social problems.

That is why in partnership with Shelter Cymru and a number of other key organisations, we have established the Care Leavers’ Accommodation and Support Framework.”

The framework for Wales will be launched at the Cymorth Cymru Housing Symposium in Cardiff today by Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children.

He said:

I am deeply committed to giving young people the best start in life. We must all make it a priority to ensure they get the support they need to fulfil their potential.

I call on all organisations including local authorities, housing and social services teams to reflect on the Welsh Government’s (own accommodation) pathway and this new framework to review the shape and service provision that’s necessary to support everybody.”

Sarah Crawley said:

It is intended to be used flexibly to suit local circumstances and needs, helping individual young people find the best accommodation locally for them, but also by commissioners to inform housing strategies.”

Barnardo’s Cymru says that providing the right support impacts on young people’s education, training and employment opportunities, their health, relationships and social networks. The framework brings together examples of good practice to support better responses so that care leavers can enjoy good accommodation that meets their needs.

Many young people report the experience of leaving care as traumatic, leading to dropping out of education, training or employment and a struggle to cope with the costs of living independently.  Homelessness and accommodation insecurity puts young people at risk of really poor outcomes in terms of mental health and at increased risks of things like exploitation and substance misuse problems.

The charity says young care leavers should be given more help in choosing the right type of accommodation and life skills in budgeting and being a good tenant, with additional support for those in residential care, custody or with ongoing health problems.

Jennie Bibbings, Campaigns Manager for Shelter Cymru, said:

Young people leaving care in Wales today face huge challenges in finding and keeping a home. There is a real lack of decent, affordable accommodation, and young people risk many potential pitfalls on the road to independent living.

This framework will help ensure that everyone leaving care has the support they need to establish themselves on their own two feet, understand what their rights and responsibilities are, and if things ever do go wrong, they know where to turn for help.”


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