Over 10,000 young people aged 16 or over leave local authority care each year. They have often had difficult lives and 62% were in care because of abuse or neglect. Children must leave local authority care by their 18th birthday, whereas 50% of all 22-year-olds still live at home. Those leaving care may struggle to cope with the transition to adulthood and may experience social exclusion, unemployment, health problems, or end up in custody. In 2013–14, 41% of 19-year-old care leavers were not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared with 15% of all 19-year-olds. In 2013–14 local authorities reported that they had spent £265 million on care leaver services. Local authorities must support care leavers until they are 21 (or 25 if in education and training) in line with statutory guidance from the Department for Education, which sets the overall framework for the delivery of support to care leavers. The Government wants care leavers to receive the same care and support that their peers would expect from a reasonable parent and, in 2013, the government published the Care Leaver Strategy. The strategy set out how eight government departments would work together to improve support for care leavers including in housing, health, employment and education.
Prepared 28 October 2015