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Ofsted report indicates a third of care leavers feel they left care too early

According to a nationwide survey undertaken by Ofsted, more than a third of care leavers felt that they left care too early.

Ofsted's report, titled 'Ready or not: care leavers' views of preparing to leave care', was published on 19 January 2022. Ofsted carried out an online survey of children in care (aged 16 to 17) and care leavers (no age limit) to explore the planning and preparation that happened before leaving care as well as the help that they received on leaving care.

Research indicated that many care leavers found that their move out of care happened 'abruptly' and that they were 'not ready' for all the sudden changes that followed. Even when care leavers felt they did leave care at the right time, not all felt they had the required skills to live independently such as how to shop, cook or manage money. Many felt 'alone' and 'isolated' upon leaving care and did not know where to get help and support. One in 10 care leavers 'never felt safe' when they first left care.

Edwina Grant OBE, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee said:

"Preparing young people to leave care and equipping them with the skills they need to live on their own and navigate adulthood, such as how to cook, budget and access support, is crucial. Many young people who leave care are successfully supported into independent adult lives, unfortunately however, this is not always the case. As the report notes, some care leavers surveyed left care earlier than was right for them, many felt isolated and didn't know where to turn for support. Worries about finances were common. "Is this good enough for my own child?" is the test and all local authorities are committed to this. Council tax exemptions and the creation of specific apprenticeships are just some examples of the different ways councils are supporting their care leavers. However, there is more to do, across local and national government, to achieve the best outcomes for every child in and young person leaving care, especially for those who would benefit from support for much longer than the current cut-off age. The children we care for deserve nothing less."

For Ofsted's 'Ready or not' report, click here.

For the response by ACDS, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers