This week is National Care Leavers’ Week, which gives me an opportunity to set out my vision for care leavers. Since I took up post, I have had the privilege to hear from many brilliant and inspiring care experienced young people about their lives now and hopes for the future. Care leavers are rightly ambitious for their futures and have told me what they need to get there. Now is the time for all of us to equal their ambition, to do more for the children and young people we work with, and to help them achieve those goals.
Today I am outlining my vision for how we can work together to provide wrap around support for care leavers in every aspect of their lives. Care leavers have told me that the thought of their 18th birthday can fill them with fear rather than excitement, as they face a cliff edge of care falling away. I want to make sure that every care leaver can instead turn 18 filled with confidence that they will be loved, cared for and supported.
This is an ambitious vision, but I am setting out the tangible steps we can take to make it a reality.
We should all – businesses, charities, individuals – be considering how we can step up to do more for care leavers. That is why I am excited to be joining the John Lewis Partnership’s Building Happier Futures Advisory Group to support the partnership to develop a national careers programme for young care leavers.
This week let’s start a national conversation about how we can collectively take on the responsibility of making sure every young care leaver has access to loving relationships, a stable home and safe community, high quality education and good opportunities, and are supportive to take care of their mental and physical health.