Minister announces improved support for care leavers

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announces three new projects to support for care leavers into education, employment or training

Care leavers across the country are set to benefit from three new projects to support young people as they make the transition from care to independence.

Speaking today (Tuesday 27 February) at the first ever National Learning Conference, showcasing projects from the Government’s £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi announced up to £5 million for three new Social Impact Bond projects to support for care leavers into education, employment or training.

He also announced the delivery partner for the Care Leaver Covenant, which offers a platform for organisations to pledge their support for young people as they face the challenges of leaving care.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

"Leaving care can be difficult and we want to improve the support available to these young people so they are not navigating life’s milestones alone. The programmes we are announcing today will help care leavers make the transition to adulthood more smoothly, improving the opportunities available to them whether in education, employment or training.

"Through the Care Leaver Covenant, we are boosting the practical support available to care leavers, such as apprenticeships or work experience, linking them up with private and voluntary organisations as well as government departments.

"The first National Learning Conference provides a valuable opportunity for us all to come together – government, voluntary and community groups as well as health and police partners – to learn from the work being delivered to many of our most vulnerable children and families through the Innovation Programme."

Today’s conference discussed the outcomes and lessons learned from 95 Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme projects and attracted over 300 delegates from 130 councils, as well as community, voluntary and private organisations.

The funding available through the new Social Impact Bond projects will be targeted in Bristol, Sheffield and Lewisham to support care leavers to stay in education or transition in to employment or training.

Nationally, care leavers will also benefit from the Care Leaver Covenant, and delivery partner Spectra First will encourage private and voluntary organisations to sign up and offer ways to help care leavers with the challenges they face in making the transition to independence.

Matthew Gordon Chief Executive at Spectra First said:

"Spectra First are delighted to be the selected delivery partner for the Care Leavers Covenant.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to work with local authorities, businesses and organisations across England, to ensure our diverse care-leavers have access to a range of meaningful offers that will improve their life chances."