Wednesday 14 October 2015

Whilst caring for a young person, it is always in the back of a foster carers mind that one day their foster child will leave care and will have to face many of the difficult challenges adult life presents to them alone. Care leavers can be more vulnerable to taking ‘the wrong path’ in life, which is highlighted by the following national statistics:  

  1. Nearly a third of all children in care leave school with no qualifications
  2. Only 6% of care leavers go to university compared to 38% of all young people
  3. A third of all care leavers are not in education, employment or training compared to only 13% of all young people
  4. 23% of the adult prison population has been in care at some point in their life
  5. Around 30% of homeless people have been in the care system  

These statistics demonstrate that young people in care who have disrupted childhoods find it harder to make the transition into adulthood. This is why there is a need to put the spotlight on care leavers to make sure everyone in the fostering industry is helping and encouraging them to achieve the best possible outcomes after care.  

National Care Leaver’s Week starts on Thursday 22nd October, ending on Friday 30th October with several events during the build-up. This week has been organised in order to highlight the needs of care leavers and to make fostering providers and foster carers aware of what needs to be done in order to ensure care leavers have the best chance possible in life after care.  

Organised by the independent charity ‘The Care Leavers Foundation’, National Care Leavers Week brings together charities across the UK, including Barnardo’s, The Princes Trust, Voice, A National Voice and many more in order to promote awareness and strategies for preparing young people for their transition to independent living.  

The theme for the week will be ‘Do You Mind’, which is all about being mindful of care leavers and helping to promote healthy minds, emotional wellbeing, positive self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

At Blue Sky Fostering we work hard with our foster carers to promote a positive experience for the young people leaving our care. We concentrate on the following areas to encourage a successful transition into independent living:  

Life skills

At Blue Sky we have an independence project which encourages our young people to develop and take responsibility for certain aspects of leaving care themselves. Ed Thompson, our Participation Officer explains:

“Covering things such as health, relationships and budgeting, we make sure we engage the young people in ways that are relevant to them and their circumstances. This may be from planning bus routes to local amenities, looking at how we save money and manage our outgoings to attending workshops on interview techniques and CV writing.”  

Young people set their own goals

“Many young people enjoy cooking and having an opportunity to cook for the families they live with allows them to share their new found skills. The key to all this is that it’s done when they are ready and at a pace that allows for the work to be worthwhile. The young people set their own goals and, alongside a set criteria we have developed, work towards these to ensure they have a certain level of ability.”  

Training for foster carers

Blue Sky foster carers also receive comprehensive training so they can help their young people gain social and independence skills which will help them find the confidence they need when leaving foster care.  

There are numerous events running all around the country during National Care Leaver’s Week, just keep your eyes peeled! If you are fostering a young person now and you feel you need support and guidance from people who really care, please do contact Blue Sky Fostering and we can discuss your situation and other you support. If you are wondering how young people feel when they leave care, watch the video below.

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