Care leavers

Care leavers are young people aged over 16 who have been in local authority care, some for all of their childhood, and have subsequently left the care system or are in the process of doing so.

Our policy asks

We believe that we all have a responsibility to enable care leavers, many of whom have had very difficult experiences as children, to have excellent opportunities as they make the transition into independent adult life. Having appropriate support, access to meaningful education, training and good quality work is crucial in enabling care leavers to achieve their potential. We want care leavers to have:

  • Consistent and high-quality pathway planning, that is focussed on their individual needs, aspirations and circumstances.
  • Access to pre-apprenticeship and pre-employment programmes that enable them to develop the skills, experience and attributes that employers are looking for in young recruits.
  • A liveable wage, as an apprentice or employee, that enables them to live independently.

What are the challenges?

  • Young people who have been in care are almost guaranteed to live in poverty. 84 per cent leave school without five good GCSEs.
  • 70 per cent of prostitutes were once in care. Care leavers are four times more likely to commit suicide than anyone else.
  • But these outcomes aren’t inevitable. With high-quality and tailored support, they can and do achieve highly.
Care leavers and looked after children in England

Relevant resources

  • Research and Reports 04 05 2020

    Supporting Care Leavers in Further Education

    These resources are for colleges in England that want to review and improve their support for Looked After Young People and Care Leavers.
  • Research and Reports 04 03 2019

    Resources to support care leavers into apprenticeships

    Our resources are aimed at encouraging employers to take on care leavers as apprentices and to raise awareness of the funding available to help.
  • Research and Reports 04 05 2017

    Top Tips for Foster Carers

    We hope that these simple top tips will help foster carers to provide good support to the young people they look after.
  • Research and Reports 04 05 2017

    Employer guide to supporting care leavers in the workplace

    It includes information about care leavers and hints and tips for employers to support them at each stage of their employment.
  • Research and Reports 04 05 2017

    The Really Useful Book of Learning and Earning (RUBLE) for Care Leavers

    The RUBLE is for young adults (aged 16-25) in England who have recently left care, or are in the process of leaving care.
  • Research and Reports 04 05 2017

    The Really Useful Book of Learning & Earning for care leavers - User guide for staff

    This guide is provided as an accompaniment to The Really Useful Book of Learning and Earning for Care Leavers (RUBLE) 2017.
  • Research and Reports 04 03 2017

    Localised approaches to supporting care leavers

    Highlights the critical success factors of existing local approaches, and includes case studies which have successfully developed effective models of support for care leavers.

Why are care leavers important to us?

We believe that we all have a responsibility to enable care leavers, many of whom have had very difficult experiences as children, to have  excellent opportunities as they make the transition into independent adult life. Having appropriate support to access meaningful education, training and work opportunities can be key for care leavers to achieve their goals and ambitions in life.

Want to know more?

For further about our social justice and inclusion work contact: Nicola Aylward, head of learning for young people