Barnardo's responds to the latest developments in the Government's Care Review

Published on
21 September 2023

The Government has announced that the Staying Close programme, which Barnardo's has championed, is being rolled out across 27 local authorities to help support care leavers move to independent living up until the age of 21.

The Staying Close programme will provide ongoing support for young people leaving the care system to aid their transition into a new phase in their lives. This includes help with accommodation, mental health and wellbeing, and an ongoing point of contact for assistance when it's needed.

Barnardo’s CEO, Lynn Perry MBE, said:

“The care review is a once in a lifetime opportunity to address the fundamental inequalities that exist for children in care. Currently, too many children are bounced around placements, schools and social workers, without enough stability or consistency. Nearly half of them have a mental health disorder, and they are three times less likely to be in education, employment or training by the time they are 19 years old, compared with their peers. This just isn’t right.

“Barnardo’s has long been championing the Staying Close programme as we firmly believe it is vital for young people to continue being supported when they leave care. All too often, we hear about those who fall off the ‘cliff edge’ of support at this pivotal time of transition. We’re pleased that, following a successful pilot, the programme is being rolled out to a further 27 local authorities – we hope that this support can soon be available for care leavers nationwide.

“Alongside the extension of Staying Close, Barnardo’s is also calling for further urgent and significant investment of time, money, and resources to achieve the changes that children need. The Government has recognised the need to help families before they reach crisis point, so now is the time for real commitment to ensure all children in care receive the same love, support and opportunities in life that we would want for our own children.”

Last year Barnardo’s provided essential support to over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers through more than 790 services and partnerships across the UK.  

We provide vital support to the children and families who need us most, to help with a range of issues including mental health, child sexual abuse and children in care.  

We listen to children and young people and work to bring about positive change so that they can have a brighter future. 

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