Foreword from Dame Rachel de Souza
Children in care and those leaving care are just as ambitious about their futures as other children, and so we need to be equally ambitious for them – I want every child in care and leaving care to feel as confident as the girl who told me:
“I know where I want to be in life, I know what I want to do, I know my aims, I know my dreams. I think ‘cos I’ve got that support around me, I am able to fulfil my dreams and what I want to achieve” – Girl (age not given).
Making this a reality for every child and young person will require all of us working with and for children to be bold and ambitious. It starts in childhood, and also means making sure that once children turn 18, they continue to get the right help.
Meeting children’s own ambitions for what their futures can and should look like will require action from everyone. I want everyone in local and national Government to embrace the role of corporate parent, and grandparent if care leavers have their own children, and to demand for children in care and care leavers what they would want for their own children and grandchildren. Today I am setting out my vision for what can be to done improve things for care leavers, so they can achieve all the things – a great education, a fulfilling job, a loving family, good health, and a fantastic future – that they tell me they want.
In this report I set out clear recommendations to achieve this vision:
- Make sure every care leaver has a stable, suitable home through changes to their housing entitlements, benefit rates and ringfenced funding in the Household Support Fund.
- Support every care leaver to form and sustain loving relationships with carers and the professionals who support them, by enabling them to stay living with carers for longer and enhancing the role of Personal Advisor.
- Improve care leavers’ mental and physical health with better training for professionals, as well as improved data.
- Enable all care leavers to access the training, further or higher education, and job that they want through sharing best practice and increasing financial support.
I know it can be done because I’ve seen so many fantastic examples of this already happening. Our mission now is to make that the case for every child and young person, wherever they live.