Money Wellness
A sad-looking young man sits on the steps outside some flats
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calendar icon22 Sep 2023

More support announced for youngsters leaving care

Thousands more young people are to receive extra support after leaving care, it has been announced. Another 27 local authorities are joining the government’s staying close programme.

This takes the total number of participating local authorities to 47. They have been awarded £53m to run the scheme since it began.

What is the staying close programme?

The initiative was set up in 2019 to help youngsters leaving care make the difficult transition to independent living.

It provides youngsters with:

  • help finding accommodation
  • practical and emotional support

Who qualifies for the help?

A care leaver is classed as anyone aged between the ages of 17 and 25 who have lived in care for at least 13 weeks after their 14th birthday and for at least a day after their 16th birthday. Living in care might mean local authority foster care or children’s homes.

The challenges facing care leavers

A lot of young people who have been in care are expected to live independently from as young as 16 years old. Generally, they don’t have access to the same financial or family support as other people their age.

Research carried out by the Children’s Society in 2016 found care leavers were falling into difficulty with money and debt as they weren’t getting enough financial education from local authorities.

The report also revealed that nearly 4,000 benefit sanctions had been applied to care leavers in the previous two years. This left youngsters in desperate situations with no money and no family to support them.

Of those few care leavers who appealed against their benefits being stopped, 60% were successful in getting the sanctions overturned. The Children’s Society says this points to a worrying trend of care leavers being treated unfairly.

Struggling with debt

If you’re a care leaver struggling with debt, get in touch. We offer free debt advice and will do everything we can to turn your situation around. You can get help from us 24/7 online. Or you can call us on 0161 518 8285 Monday to Friday 8am-8pm or over the weekend 10am-4pm.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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