The Need +
It is widely reported that care leavers do not receive adequate training and preparation for leaving care and living independently. Ofsted reported that 76% of care leavers feel under prepared for independent life, 49% said they had been either badly or very badly prepared. They made recommendations for a more holistic support package, as far too much is expected of statutory services.
The need for extensive training and early intervention is urgent, as the numbers of those in care continues to rise. A study by the University of York showed that post-care intervention; like access to training saved significant money and halved costs related to negative outcomes. Such intervention is much more cost effective than responding after the fact; acting earlier prevents later crises. This cohort need support before they leave care with intensive training from early adolescence to equip them better for the cliff edge of rapidly withdrawn support from 18.
There is a widely recognised barrier in ‘soft skills’ such as communication and commitment, which holds them back from the job market. There are many aspects to these barriers, a holistic support system needs to be in place. It’s not just about getting a job, it’s looking at a person as a whole. Can they budget, can they pay bills, can then sustain independent living. The benefits of work are not just a route out of poverty; they are far wider, providing structure, relationships, a sense of purpose, progress and self-confidence.
We have seen in past projects that providing an apprenticeship or job placement, which in addition to being costly just simply wasn’t enough. A number of the cohort of care leavers were still sofa surfing, having trouble budgeting, dealing with MH issues, addictions and relationship problems.
In the Access All Areas report, the message from LAC to the government was a desire for there to be more signposting and information on what entitlements they had access to. More support with budgeting and managing tenancies. They also asked for projects with mentor support, which could be easily understood and for them to be face to face. (Not online). In addition it recommended support from a 3rd party as beneficial as there can be a lack of trust in PA’s due to the young persons complex relationship with them. PA’s serve invaluably, but as reported by Ofsted they lack the time, resource and expertise to assist with employability adequately. Barnado’s also recommended support from a 3rd party as beneficial due to the institutional nature of being a LAC and innate distrust of the professionals and the system. The care leavers they spoke to said they would rather learn from former care leavers.
The Children’s Society recommended work experience, long-term support, early intervention and specialist employment and skills advisors. In terms of learning the CSJ recommends assistance with financial, practical and relational skills. Roar has expanded this initial recommendation to also cover how to manage a budget, a tenancy, signposting support and training into work. Our care leavers have added in additional aspects of healthier relationships, self-branding, trauma treatment and mentoring from them as absolute essentials to the programme.
We work with a positive attitude, and we want all our participants to realise the past is not their future. We are focused firmly on solutions not problems.